Are your fleet vehicles equipped to deal with the cold winter weather?

Britain is set to experience one of the coldest winters in more than a century. With this in mind, the InsureFleet team thought it was a good idea to make you aware of a couple of things you can do to ensure that your vehicles are prepared for the harsh conditions this winter.

Lights and wipers

Fleet managers need to ensure that each vehicle is fitted with wipers that are able to cut through snow and any build up of ice. Also, as 40% of collisions take place in darkness, fleet owners should frequently check that each light on their vehicles are working correctly to avoid accidents as a result of poor vision.

Winter tyres

Skidding and poor judgement of braking distances in the snow accounts for 48% of all winter road incidents. Fleet managers need to consider the weather conditions and temperatures in the areas where their drivers will be travelling before deciding whether winter tyres would be worthwhile for them.

If any of your fleet vehicles travel around Europe, severe weather conditions are almost certain. There are several countries where it is a legal requirement to have winter tyres. Germany, Austria, and Scandanavia, as well as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, all require compulsory fitting from October through to March. Countries such as France, Switzerland and Italy only require winter tyres on certain roads and areas in the county.

Tyre pressure

A large change in temperature can cause a substantial loss of tyre pressure. However, if your tyres are inflated too much this could cause the tyre to loose a large amount of grip which could increase the chances of an accident. It is the fleet manager’s responsibility to make sure drivers check their tyre pressures several times a month during winter.

Fuel

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

It’s 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 doesn’t fall, winter tyres perform much better than standard tyres in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius.

For more information about fleet insurance call our friendly team today on 0333 202 3173.

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