Fleets must take lead on driver safety in hazardous conditions, says Masterlease
So says Masterlease, which is warning fleets of their duty of care to drivers following this year's early snowfall.
The company says that fleet managers should say "no" to staff driving in adverse weather conditions, or lay out strict safety guidelines as Britain is once again gripped by Arctic conditions, as it was in January of this year.
Judith Humphries, senior product manager who heads up Masterlease’s risk management team, said: 'It is the responsibility of the employer and HR department to ensure that workers are not taking unnecessary risks. Now, more than ever, businesses have to take a front-seat when it comes to ensuring the safety of their drivers.'
Masterlease’s own accident management data reveals that snow and icy conditions creates spikes in incidents. Last year’s winter weather created an increase in the accident rate between December and January – from 8,352 to 9,048.
Ms Humphries added: 'The statistics speak volumes and show the tell-tale signs of a general slowness to adapt to new driving conditions triggered by a sense of the winter blues.'
Masterlease has put together its list of top tips for those employees who have to drive:
• Pack extra supplies for potentially getting stuck – blankets, thermals, wellies, shovel, chocolate or a snack as it may be some time before you get on your way again
• Get your anti-freeze checked, if you are not familiar with doing it yourself
• Add screen wash with a good quality additive to reduce the chance of freezing in winter weather
• Replenish screen wash regularly as you will use more, especially cleaning windscreens on the motorway created by additional salt and grit
• Check batteries – this eliminates the chances of an inconvenient, unplanned flat
• Check all bulbs including brake and number plate lights
• Check the tread and ensure the correct pressure of tyres as road surfaces can be particularly slippery through snowy and frosty weather
• Avoid dazzle from low sun by making sure that the windscreen is clean both inside and out
• Check and renew wiper blades, if necessary
• Don’t forget to check the spare tyre.