Enhancing driver safety during harsh winter conditions

This has been a year of unprecedented difficulty for fleet managers and HGV drivers in the UK. The loss of experienced truckers, including many EU nationals, and the scramble for new recruits means that there many drivers experiencing their first winter handling a HGV.

The onset of winter is always a difficult time on the roads. Harsh weather conditions such as ice, high winds, and poor visibility can make journeys dangerous for any road user. The danger is even greater for drivers of heavy, high-sided vehicles.

The widely publicised driver shortages and consequential supply chain problems have contributed to a pressurised atmosphere for fleet managers. In this situation, it is imperative that safety is not compromised by the need for quick deliveries in the winter months. Fleet managers should remain vigilant in making sure that all drivers are reminded of winter safety precautions.

Here at Brigade, we’ve put together our 12 top tips for safe driving in the winter:

Planning your journey

  • Slower speeds are needed in poor conditions, so create a schedule that allows drivers more time to make their deliveries
  • Ensure that every cab is equipped with a shovel and some strong sacking – useful to put under the wheels if a vehicle becomes stuck
  • Remind drivers to add warm clothes, a high-visibility jacket, a torch, phone charger and a hot drinks flask to their cab for every journey
  • Check that newer drivers are aware of your company’s emergency procedures, as accidents are more likely to occur in difficult conditions

Vehicle checks

  • Be extra vigilant in your vehicle checks before every journey
  • Make sure the entire vehicle, particularly the windscreen and mirrors are cleared of ice and snow before setting off
  • Ensure the vehicle has at least half a tank of fuel before every journey, in case it takes longer than planned, or drivers need to find alternative routes
  • Make sure that defrosters are fully functioning

While driving

  • Drive carefully. Slow down, increase the distance between your truck and other vehicles – the Freight Transport Association recommends ten times the normal stopping distance
  • Brake slowly and carefully, and avoid any sudden movements
  • Keep up-to-date on weather conditions and traffic news with a GPS system
  • Ask drivers to communicate with base more often, so that new information on conditions or routes can be shared and discussed

Here at Brigade, our mission is to save lives with our commercial vehicle safety systems. Because our safety systems are exported globally, we always test our products in a range of punishing conditions, so that wherever in the world they are used, they will be up to the challenge.  Some of our products can even withstand operating temperatures as low as -40°C.

Our best-selling product, the Backeye®360, has revolutionised the driver and operator experience by providing a real-time 360-degree surround view of a vehicle in a single image. This system provides the driver with instant visibility of the numerous blind spots found in large vehicles, allowing operators to quickly see and react to hazards on the ground.

Road safety research has shown that in the time it takes to scan four mirrors, assess and then react to hazards, a vehicle could travel as far as 33 feet. In icy conditions, vehicle stopping distances are up to ten times higher – increasing this figure to as much as 333 feet. The Backeye®360 decreases the time it takes to assess hazards, therefore decreasing your reaction time and stopping distance, and reducing the likelihood of dangerous collisions occurring in challenging conditions.

For further information about Brigade’s safety products, and how they can support the safety of your fleet in challenging winter conditions, please get in touch with one of our knowledgeable team.

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