There’s certainly more of a chill in the air, and as the weather changes to an icier feel, other factors should come into consideration such as your own wellbeing and driver/vehicle safety.
Driving in testing weather conditions is a challenge at the best of times, and requires a certain level of concentration, skill and experience.
It is of course important that you and your employees are confident when driving in such conditions, but also that all the necessary checks on your vehicle have been performed so that you know prior to departure that it is safe to drive.
A useful link to the Met Office weather forecast can be found here, and always ask yourself; do I really need to make the journey?
Good to know
Rule 123 of the Highway Code states that:
- You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.
- You could receive a £20 fixed penalty if caught with the engine idling while you defrost windows.
Please note, leaving the vehicle unattended with the keys in the vehicle, should as theft occur this could render your insurance voided and unable to pay out for the stolen vehicle or contents.
Rule 229 of the Highway Code states that:
- You must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all windows.
- Before you set off remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users.
Other points to consider are things like your windscreen. If for whatever reason your vehicle's windscreen is obstructed, and your view is compromised, then you could find yourself receiving a fine of £60 from a police officer.
Driving in adverse weather guidelines
In the UK the weather can change quickly, and therefore we need to be ready to adjust our driving to suit such conditions. For example:
- Clear ice and snow from your vehicle and demist the windows, don’t forget to clear snow from the roof, headlights and number plates.
- On slippery surfaces, drive slowly using the highest possible gear. Avoid sudden actions - braking, sharp turns or speeding up.
- If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator and do not brake suddenly.
Remember - It can take ten times longer to stop if roads are slippery.
- Slow down and use dipped headlights.
- Remember, you MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.
- Don’t follow the rear lights of a vehicle in front, you could be too close, and you’ll not have enough space between you and the vehicle in front to be able to brake safely in an emergency.
- Slow down - it takes longer to stop, and spray will affect your visibility.
- Turn your air conditioning on – this will help prevent your windows from misting up
- Don’t drive through deep lying surface water. If you have to, slow right down and drive through in first gear. Test your brakes when you come out the other side.
- Be considerate of pedestrians, driving through puddles and ‘soaking’ pedestrians, could result in a fine of up to £5,000 (Section 3 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988)
- High-sided vehicles are most affected by strong winds, strong gusts can blow a car, cyclist or motorcyclist off course.
- Keep well back and overtake with care.
Leave the Christmas cheer in the boot
It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and find yourself wanting to spread some Christmas cheer on your drive, but whatever you do, please resist the urge to do so. Those found driving in outfits that impact your ability to drive risk a “fine of £5,000 and/or discretionary disqualifications and nine points on your licence”. This applies to Santa costumes, inflatable fancy dress costumes, Christmas jumpers, winter boots and coats, to name but a few.
For information about management liability portfolio insurance, contact your usual Towergate Insurance Broker advisor or email TIB@towergate.co.uk.