Preparing for Winter

01/11/2017

As winter approaches road conditions across the country can become dangerous. We share some steps to help prepare your vehicles and keep you safe.

Vehicle maintenance is vital

  • Battery – cold weather has a tendency to lower battery power
  • Check that the radiator is topped up with anti-freeze, make sure there are no leaks
  • You may not have used them for several months so make sure the heater, demister and wiper blades are working
  • Winter roads provide little traction so check tyres for any damage to the tyre walls such as cuts, cracks or bulges. These should be dealt with immediately as they could lead to slow punctures or blowouts
  • Look at ways to ensure visibility is not compromised
  • Checking your lights to make sure all lights in and outside your vehicle are fully functioning
  • Drive slower than usual, you will have more time to see what is in front of you and be in a position to react, as poor visibility means you may not see another road user or a hazard until the last few seconds
  • Stop, take a break – there is a greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel. If driving at night is unavoidable, make sure you take regular, planned breaks and if you feel tired, stop and find somewhere safe to rest

Being prepared

Be aware of diesel fuel gelling. This is when the paraffin usually present in diesel starts to solidify when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, the wax in liquid form will crystallise and leave the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees, it will finally start to gel and clog the tank and fuel filters.

  • With so many Apps available, it’s even easier to check the road and weather condition before setting out
  • Is the journey essential? Can it be postponed? An employer must follow the legal duties relating to employee safety.
  • Allow for extra time for your journey and where possible stick to main roads
  • In severe weather, there may be less filling stations open for business so be sure to top up with plenty of fuel in the vehicle
  • Keep safe and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive
  • Be cautious with all road surfaces when driving – manoeuvre gently, especially when braking
  • Stopping distances will be considerably longer in wet and icy conditions
  • Try to pull away in second gear and select a higher gear such as third or fourth for travelling downhill

In the event of skidding, depress the clutch, steer into the skid and avoid the temptation to brake forcefully. Remember black ice can appear to be a wet patch, so proceed with caution

Winter driving kit

  • Ice scraper and de-icer spray
  • Powerful torch with spare batteries
  • Reflective triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothing, wellingtons or other boots, blankets and/or a sleeping bag
  • Insurance and broker documents, including any contact information for emergency claim hotlines
  • Bottled water and non-perishable foods
  • Jump leads
  • Snow shovel
  • Sat Nav and maps
  • Fully charged mobile phone(s), charger lead and auxiliary battery

For more information please visit:  https://www.ratcliffes.co.uk