winter driving for employers

Reducing the winter driving risk for your employees

With darker mornings and evenings and the risk of severe weather conditions, such as hail, snow and fog, winter can be a hazardous time for drivers.

Yet a recent survey by NFU Mutual and published by the AA found that many drivers are not prepared for winter driving. The findings show that one in six drivers have had a breakdown in winter caused by not properly preparing their vehicle.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure employees are safe when driving for business. Training, such as seminars and online assessments, can help your staff understand the risks of winter driving.

What can employers do to prepare staff for winter driving?

Drivers are often urged to follow the mnemonic ‘FORCES’ before driving off.  This stands for:

  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Rubber i.e. tyres
  • Coolant
  • Electrics (particularly lights)
  • Screen wash

Whilst this may sound obvious to some, employers need to be aware that not all staff are mechanically minded and may need to be shown how to carry out even basic checks.

It is also worth checking that drivers know what to do in the event of something out of the ordinary happening, such as switching on fog lights or having a puncture.

What other guidance can employers provide?

The NFU survey also found that only a quarter of drivers carried a warning triangle, jumps leads or a high visibility vest in their car.  In the event of having to endure a prolonged wait in their car, such as due to snow or traffic jam, only one in five kept a blanket and warm clothes in their car.  Of more concern only two out of five drivers had roadside assistance telephone numbers with them.

By encouraging staff to take precautions in the winter and providing those who are driving for business with the right safety equipment and information, employers can reduce the risks that they might face.