Preparing your fleet for bad weather
As we currently seem to be experiencing one storm followed by another, it’s important to consider how extreme weather conditions can affect your fleet. There is an increased need to ensure your fleet is fit for the road and drivers know how to operate safely in the hazards that extreme weather can bring.
In bad weather conditions, there is an increased risk of being involved in an accident. Claims for damage peak during bad weather and the ‘Beast from the East’ last winter meant more than 13,000 additional claims for damage were made, costing £17 million.
When ice is forecast, it’s essential to check tyre tread depth. Tread is crucial for staying in control of braking and steering. We know that in wet conditions, braking distances are doubled and when ice is involved, that distance is up to ten times as long than in normal conditions. A minimum tread depth of 4mm is recommended for vehicles to cope safely in icy conditions. If the tread depth is below the legal requirement of 1.6mm, the vehicle should not be used at all.
The infamous ‘Beast’ of last winter cost the economy £1 billion per day, with people unable to get into work and A roads and motorways becoming impassable. Having a fleet that’s ready to navigate the worst weather conditions is vital to stop your business from losing money, minimise disruption and to help keep other road users safe from harm as well. Still being able to get deliveries to customers can prevent any potential damage to your reputation too.
One option for fleet management is rental. Rental vehicles tend to be newer, better maintained and are less likely to suffer from breakdown than older assets. Newer vehicles will also be more likely to have advanced features including auto braking, better tyre tread, auto seatbelt tightening and GPS tracking. For more information on Vehicle Tracking, visit https://www.vehicle-accessories.net/vehicle-tracking/
As a fleet manager, you have a responsibility to provide a duty of care and tracking can assist you with this. Knowing where your drivers are, providing them with up-to-the-minute road information, giving them the knowledge to change to a safer route and keeping track of servicing and maintenance needs are all essential things that GPS tracking devices can offer.
Using a fleet of rental vehicles guarantees legal compliance as well, meaning you can easily fulfil your duty of care. Vehicles can be optimised depending on the time of year, meaning you’re prepared for the seasons that bring the worse weather. Vehicles can be fitted with extra lighting and chevrons, for example, helping to keep drivers better prepared for the challenges they face in poor-weather driving.
When the weather becomes unpredictable, the greatest asset a business has is flexibility. It’s essential for fleet managers to retain the ability to respond to market demand and if needed, be able to obtain additional vehicles to meet the rise in demand during peak periods.
When temperatures drop, both managers and drivers must be ready to tackle any weather conditions, fulfilling the employer’s duty of care while minimising business costs and disruption.