In recent years, Great Britain has been experiencing some of the coldest winters in over a century. Having said that, it is probably a great idea for you to be aware of a few things that you can do to make sure that your fleet of vehicles is ready to face the harsh winter conditions. These are, of course, aside from having sufficient fleet insurance cover.
Wipers and Lights
Your fleet manager must make sure that each of your company vehicles is equipped with appropriate wipers that can cut through snow as well as ice build-up. According to statistics, 2 out of 5 collisions happen in darkness. Thus, you must have the lights on every vehicle checked often to make sure they are working at optimum levels. This preventive measure can help prevent road mishaps that result from poor visibility.
Bad judgement of braking distances and skidding in snow-infested roads are responsible for almost half of all road mishaps in winter. Thus you need to consider the temperatures and weather conditions in areas where your designated drivers will be plying when deciding if installing winter tyres would be beneficial. In Europe, severe weather conditions are a fact of life, so your vehicles must be ready if traveling in heavy snow cannot be avoided. In some countries, having winter tyres is mandatory. Countries like Austria, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, as well as the Scandinavian countries, require that vehicles are fitted with winter tyres from October to March. On the other hand, some countries like Switzerland, Italy, and France only impose the mandatory winter tyre requirement for specific areas and certain roads.
Major temperature changes can lead to substantial tyre pressure losses. If your tyres, however, are excessively inflated, the tyres grip may be severely compromised, and this exponentially increases the risk for serious road mishaps. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that your drivers take the initiative to inspect their tyre pressure regularly throughout winter.
During cold and harsh weather conditions,
In cold weather, water vapour that collects at the bottom of the fuel tank can be drawn up into the fuels lines and freeze. This unsurprisingly, will prevent an engine from starting. However there are numerous ways to prevent this such as avoiding letting your fuel tank be less than ½ full, avoiding areas with more extreme temperatures and using fuel-line anti-freeze.
Summary Its too early to predict just how bad the weather will be over the next couple of months. This means that fleet managers cannot afford to be under prepared and should carry out the checks we have listed above as a minimum With an ever increasing demand for winter tyres, it is also vital that you buy them sooner rather than later. Even if snow doesnt fall, winter tyres perform much better than standard tyres in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius.