Did you know that a car’s stopping distance is ten times longer in ice or snow? Or that its battery is much more likely to die in cold weather?

From motoring breakdowns and accidents to lost working time and understaffed offices, a snow day can bring its own set of perils to drivers, passengers and the businesses they work for.

Although drivers are ultimately responsible for taking care in their cars, employers benefit too if their staff are following good winter driving practices.

On their own, the impact on productivity and workplace issues that could arise if any member of staff has an accident while travelling for work are valid enough reasons for a business to adequately inform and equip any driving employees before winter comes along.

From having a workplace policy for adverse weather conditions to making sure people have a winter driving kit in their cars, there are several things every business can do to reduce the aggravation of a snow day:

Winter work policy

Put a policy in place to cover what people should do in the event of snow, ice or storms. Let them know how you will communicate with them and how you expect them to contact you. If it is feasible for people to work from home rather than hazard a journey, consider this. Road safety charity Brake is one of several organisations that say drivers should never set off if heavy snow is forecast or coming down.

Ready and roadworthy

A car that’s not fit to drive in good weather is a definite peril in bad. Owners need to ensure their vehicles have up to date MOTs and are serviced, tyres with a tread depth of at least 3mm, a working spare tyre, anti-freeze and water levels topped up and at least a quarter a tank of fuel before every journey.

Essential car kit

Items that people should have in their vehicle, especially over winter, include:

– Ice scraper

– Anti-freeze

– De-icer

– Torch

– Mobile phone and charger

– Spare clothes

– Blankets

– Water and snacks

– Sturdy footwear

– High visibility vest

– Warning triangle

– Road atlas

– Sat nav

– Spare batteries

– Sunglasses for winter sun

Driving

Road safety charity Brake gives detailed advice on its website to drivers who find themselves driving in snow. Among its recommendations are:

– Slow right down

– Drop right back from the car in front

– Never hang on to another car’s tail lights

– Avoid harsh braking or acceleration

– Carry out any manoeuvres as carefully as possible

– Keep a constant eye out for pedestrians or any hazards

 

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