Jessica Dunn, Office Manager at Katherine Harriet Ltd looks at driving safe in the winter season
Is driving in winter safe?
Driving in the winter is very different than at other times of the year. Adverse weather and longer periods of darkness (especially after the clocks go back at the end of October) make driving more hazardous. Sometimes conditions can be extreme, as we have found out over recent winters, with prolonged periods of heavy snow and floods.
Different weather conditions create different hazards throughout the winter and in different areas of the country at different times. A single journey may take us into very different weather, road and traffic conditions, so we need to be prepared for each one. This means that we need to adapt the way we drive to the conditions.
Most of us have very little experience driving in extreme conditions, such as snow, so take some time to consider how it affects your driving. Don’t just drive as normal and in very bad conditions, avoid driving completely, unless you absolutely have to make the journey and driving is the only option.
Winter driving for work
At Katherine Harriet, we have an Adverse Weather Policy and Procedure in place, this looks at adverse weather arrangements, including travel and driving.
How journey planning can help
Changes in the weather should be considered as part of the journey-planning process. Heeding Police advice and being situationally aware should be part of the risk assessment process. Severe weather not only disrupts the Transport Network, but it also impacts the economy, creates the potential for reputational damage for businesses and governments, and can impact people, their families, and communities where lives are lost and members of the public are injured.
It is also crucial that journey scheduling allows time for sufficient rest stops, for drivers to take account of reasonably foreseeable weather and traffic conditions, and to comply with speed limits. Good practice is to build time into a journey, which means drivers will be less likely to rush in order to make up for any delays. It is conceivable that journey routes and scheduling might need to be altered during the winter months.
Reviewing emergency arrangements
Employers should review their emergency arrangements with staff so they know what to do in the event of an a collision, breakdown or getting stuck, and ensure that vehicles contain adequate equipment.
We are also planning with our clients a winter plan, this will include our RAG list, emergency procedures, any community contacts and information in the event of emergency and adverse weather.
Reducing the risk
To reduce the risk we should complete each day with a risk assessment, just think safe vehicle, safe journey, and safe and healthy drivers save lives.
Reduce the risk by not making the journey when the weather is inclement. Reducing the risk reduces the potential for crashing and reduces the risk to emergency responders within a post-crash situation.
At Katherine Harriet we have risk assessments in place alongside our business continuity plan, we will look at all possible routes or ways to keep our staff safe, whilst still ensuring our Clients receive services and care.
Winter Driving Tips
Drive Slowly – reduce your speed in snowy road conditions to avoid accidents and skidding
Avoid Distractions – When driving, give your full attention to the road, avoid using your mobile phone or eating
Avoid Cruise Control – Always be in control when it comes to acceleration and deceleration in snowy conditions
Plan Your Route – Bridges and cooler areas can have more ice than others, try and stay clear where possible
Check your Tyres – Checking the pressure and traction of your tyres when driving in snowy conditions
Increase Distance – Increasing the distance will give you enough time to slow down if you lose control of your vehicle
Of course, these tips will help you during snowy and winter conditions, however, you must always ensure you are feeling well enough to drive and you are able to stay vigilant and alert to risks around you.
Office / Administration Manager