It’s that time of year again, when the rumours that we are in for the coldest winter in a century, a decade or even a millennium begin to fly around. This year, predictions have ranged from apocalyptic snowstorms (thanks to the early arrival of a migratory swan at a nature reserve) to the hottest winter ever, thanks to the highest ever recorded November temperatures.
Nonetheless, we are all aware that winter is nearly here and the colder weather will bring its own set of challenges for the fleet manager, who needs to be prepared for every eventuality.
As a fleet manager it is your duty to make certain that both your vehicles and drivers are prepared for winter. For most drivers it has been almost eight months since they last experienced winter conditions and as such may not be entirely used to the reduced visibility and slippery roads that they may have to contend with. It is therefore vital that drivers are reminded to maintain a safe distance when following another vehicle and that they are aware of the possibility of diminished traction and vehicle control.
Poor weather conditions adversely affect road conditions and generally mean that the number of vehicle breakdowns and accidents will more than double throughout the winter months. To prevent this unwanted downtime and cost it is vital to ensure your fleet’s vehicles are properly equipped and prepared for the challenging winter conditions, and are checked to ensure any minor faults are corrected before they become more serious.
One easy way of ensuring this is getting a vehicle health check from technicians who are experts in safety. As a member of the FTA’s Van Excellence programme, we appreciate just how important it is we do this with our own fleet – and as a business we are committed to raising the standards of vehicle condition, safe working, driver licensing, driver behaviour, compliance and training.
With that in mind, we offer a 20-point check for cars and vans to ensure your vehicles are in the best condition possible before heading out on the road. On top of checking the vehicle’s tyres, this covers fluid levels, a primary brake check, battery, exhaust, shock absorbers, oil, lights, windscreen wipers and screen wash. It sounds simple, but this kind of safety inspection is a cost-effective way of preventing weather-related vehicle downtime. You can also be sure this work is carried out in the safest way possible thanks to our RoSPA Gold accreditation – we’re the only national tyre specialist to hold this accolade.
Tyres play such a critical role in a fleet’s safety and performance that they deserve to be serviced and managed by experts. ATS Euromaster’s mobile service network means that fleet tyre inspections and maintenance for all types of vehicles can be carried out at the customer’s depot. What’s more, our SAFEContractor and the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) accreditation, means you can be assured that the work will be carried out in accordance with the highest standards for health and safety.
Winter always places increased challenges for the safety of fleet vehicles. However, by following a few simple steps, it’s possible to help ensure that you and your employees enjoy a safe and productive winter.
Stan Rudowski is the Group Head of Health, Safety and Technical Services, ATS Euromaster