Tips on Preparing Your Fleet Vehicles For Winter

motor fleet insurance

Maintaining your fleet’s performance, both in terms of your business as well as the general performance of the vehicles themselves, is an important factor in helping your business continue running throughout the very coldest months. Here are a few ways you can prepare your fleet vehicles for winter.

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Prepare Your Vehicles

We are in the throes of winter and fleet owners need to be prepared for their drivers to be on the road for many hours in frigid temperatures. Cars, vans and trucks operate very differently in the cold and without adequate preparation, you could find that your fleet runs into trouble.

The vehicles that make up your fleet, whatever they may be, must be properly prepared for the winter. From external protection to tyres, to using the right kind of fuel, there are many elements to consider before your fleet delves into the cold.

You can use a checklist to ensure both you and your drivers understand each and every element that needs to be in top condition in order to be safe on the road. Some of the things to keep an eye on include:

  • Battery – Older vehicles may cope less well in cold weather which means you should check the battery whenever you start a journey, no matter the distance, as breaking down can cause a serious knock-on effect for your business. Replace the battery when necessary rather than risking it as any issues could end up costing you significantly
  • Tyres – Depending on the nature of the weather within the area you operate (snow and ice tend to be heavier in the north than the south, for example), you may want to invest in winter tyres. The tread needs to be at least 3mm so checking this, as well as tyre pressure, every couple of weeks is highly advisable
  • Antifreeze – you need to use antifreeze in order to lower the freezing point of the water-based liquid in your vehicle’s engine. Without it, your engine may struggle to transfer heat to the inside of the vehicle
  • Visibility – being able to see properly is obviously integral no matter the weather, but in heavy rain, snow, sleet, hail or fog, your visibility can be significantly reduced. This means you need to check that all your lights are clean, your windscreen is clear, and you have a good quality screen wash loaded in.

Recommended reading: 5 Ways to Reduce Your Business Fleet Running Costs

Prepare Your Drivers

Even the most experienced drivers can find winter driving conditions difficult. Whatever type of business you utilise your fleet for, you should have a winter driving policy in place so the rules and regulations you set out are adhered to. This could be anything from a checklist for drivers to do every morning to a process to follow if an emergency should occur.

If you do set up a new policy for your drivers, make sure it communicated properly so that every employee is aware of what to do in the various situations that may come up.

Although winter weather conditions play havoc with the state of the roads, it is mostly driver error that is to blame for the majority of accidents. To mitigate the risks, make sure you employ experienced drivers and ensure they have the right kit in their car so, if the worst should happen and they get into an accident or break down, they have everything necessary to be safe. Things like ice scrapers, de-misters, jump leads, a torch and a first aid kit could become invaluable on a dark winter road.

Prepare for Each Journey

For the professional drivers in your fleet, getting on the road is second nature. However, in colder weather, each journey presents risks that your drivers will not face in the warmer months. Make sure your drivers understand the importance of safety, driving slowly, not jamming on brakes and if they do end up skidding or drifting, that they know how to handle it safely.

It is also very important to have motor fleet insurance in place so that if anything does happen to either your vehicle or driver, you are protected against the associated costs. You should look into specific features for your fleets, such as breakdown and roadside recovery insurance and third-party insurance.

As previously mentioned, even the most experienced drivers with years of professional driving under the belt may come unstuck by slippery roads, unpredictable weather, and other road users who perhaps do not drive as safely as they should. In this event, the only way to mitigate the risks is to have adequate insurance coverage, good drivers, and well-prepared vehicles. With these three elements, your fleet can continue to operate at the highest level no matter what the weather may be.

Over to you now. Any other tips for preparing your fleet vehicles in winter? Share them with us in the comments below. 

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Monday, 16 December 2019
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