UK weather is unpredictable, to say the least. During the autumn and winter months, you should be prepared for hazardous conditions and road safety for your employees should be a priority.
Recent stats highlighted that November is the most common months for road traffic accidents in the UK. When looking at specific dates, four out of five of the dates with the most road accidents all happen in winter months, with the 19th of January being the most common day for accidents. Sadly, over a quarter of all road traffic incidents involves someone who is driving as part of their working day.
How Do You Manage Work-Related Road Safety?
Managing work-related road safety as part of your health and safety programme for your business can help protect your employees and reap business benefits. As an employer, it is crucial that you ensure that the risks to drivers are included in your health and safety arrangements.
The HSE’s Guide to Workplace Transport Safety suggests ways in which businesses can effectively educate employees and promote safe driving. In turn, it can reduce:
- Injuries to drivers
- Vehicle wear, tear and repair
- Work-related ill health
- Missed appointments
- Insurance premiums
- Stress and improved morale
The guide is designed for managers, supervisors, employees, contractors, vehicle operators and anyone else concerned with workplace transport safety and provides advice on health and safety management, reducing risks and how to ensure that you are compliant with the law.
Driving at Work – Considerations for Staying Safe
Many businesses are unaware that health and safety law applies to driving on the road, in the same way as it does to all other work activities. This does not apply to commuting, unless drivers are travelling from their home to somewhere which is not their usual place of work.
Asking yourself the following questions will help you manage work-related road safety effectively.
- Are your drivers competent and capable of working in a way that is safe for them and other people?
- Are your drivers properly trained?
- Do you ensure your drivers have clear instructions for keeping themselves safe while on the road?
- Are your drivers sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves or others at risk?
- Do you know your duties under health and safety law when employing contractors and subcontractors?
- Are vehicles fit for the purpose for which they are used?
- Are vehicles maintained in a safe and fit condition?
- Are you sure that your drivers’ health, and possibly safety, is not being put at risk, e.g. from an inappropriate seating position or driving posture?
- Do you plan routes thoroughly?
- Are work schedules realistic?
- Do you allow enough time to complete journeys safely?
- Do you consider poor weather conditions, such as snow or high winds when planning journeys?
Staying Safe While Driving in Autumn and Winter
In addition to your employees that drive at work, it’s important to consider the driving risks that arise for any employees that drive to and from work as we enter a new season and the weather starts to change. Evenings are the most common time of day for accidents, whilst people are commuting home from work – including your employees.
Below, we’re sharing our advice for checking if a vehicle is autumn and winter-ready and how to drive safely in adverse weather conditions. Although your employees are responsible for managing their own risks whilst commuting to the workplace and back and obtaining adequate personal Car Insurance for their vehicle, we would encourage you to share this with your employees to support their wellbeing and help keep them safe on the road.
Checking a Vehicle is Safe to Drive
- Check the tyre pressure and look for any cuts and bulges as this could indicate that the tyres need to be changed.
- Tyre tread depth should also be checked regularly to make sure that they are at least 1.6mm. Consider putting on winter tyres to increase their grip.
- Check windscreen wipers and replace them if necessary. Make sure the washer bottle is topped up with screen wash and keep a can of de-icer in the car at all times.
- Be sure to keep fuel topped up and don’t drive on an empty tank.
- Have a quick look under the vehicle on a regular basis to check for leaks.
Driving Safely in Adverse Weather Conditions
- Before driving, remove any ice or snow from windows, the bonnet and headlights. It’s against the law to drive with snow or ice on a vehicle, including its roof.
- Drive at slow speeds and with caution. 3 – 12 times the amount of stopping distance is needed compared to what is needed without precipitation.
- Do not break quickly as this could cause the vehicle to spin out of control.
- If the vehicle begins to hydroplane, hold the steering wheel straight and take the foot off the accelerator.
- When driving in a rain or thunderstorm, turn the headlights, wipers and demister on to increase visibility.
- When driving in foggy conditions, use low beams or fog lights as well as turning on the wipers and demister.
- If driving in extremely thick fog, roll down all of the windows to hear other surrounding vehicles.
- If unable to see the road’s edge due to fog, pull off on the left and turn on hazard warning lights. Don’t start driving again until able to see.
- If caught in a thunderstorm, pull off the road into an open area and away from trees (to avoid a lightning strike).
- If snow is forecast, always keep a shovel in the boot along with a thick blanket, snacks and water in case you get stranded.
- If the vehicle gets stuck in snow, straighten the wheels and accelerate at a slow pace.
For more information about protecting your business’ vehicles and employees whilst they drive at work, please contact us today on 02920 853788 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can assist with managing health and safety to a whole host of insurance solutions, including Business Car Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, GAP Insurance, Goods in Transit Insurance. Minibus Insurance, Motor Vehicle Fleet Insurance and more.