Your business may depend on the transportation of goods and services, rain or shine. In the winter, when road conditions worsen and can be unpredictable, it’s important to practice safe driving habits -whether you are driving a company vehicle or your own. In our winter vehicle maintenance guide, we outlined how to inspect your vehicles before you hit the road this winter.
After you have completed this maintenance check, consider who will be getting behind the wheel. It is important that drivers feel ready and comfortable, especially if they may be on the road for days at a time. The right training can help a driver stay informed and navigate tough road conditions.
To help your business reinforce safe driving behaviour this winter and determine who should be driving, here are a few considerations.
- Experience: Try and select individuals who have more than two years of experience driving in winter conditions. Consider enrolling individuals with less than two years of experience in winter driver training courses.
- Attitude: Driving is an activity that requires you to be focused and alert. An attitude of complacency can be dangerous and can result in unsafe behaviour. If a driver has a history that indicates an issue with speeding, or if they have been involved in collisions, try to avoid selecting them to operate vehicles in the winter.
- Fatigue: Tiredness, weariness, or exhaustion can result in slow reflexes and an inability to focus on the road. If a driver is fatigued, encourage them to report it and ensure they do not feel punished for doing so. Drivers should not get behind the wheel if they know they are fatigued. If a driver is spending days on the road, encourage them to get rest when they can, stay active, and eat well.
- Winter driving training: Winter weather is often unpredictable and can change driving conditions on a moment’s notice. It may be useful to incorporate specific training so drivers are equipped to respond to different weather scenarios. This “what-if” planning can help them anticipate what may go wrong on the road.
- The three-point contact rule: When a driver enters or exits a vehicle, they should always follow the three-point contact rule. This means that they should have three points of contact with the vehicle by facing it when they are entering and distributing weight evenly among all points of contact. This helps drivers maintain their balance on slippery conditions. They should also be wearing proper footwear.
- Pack an emergency roadside kit: In the event a driver’s vehicle stops working or is caught in an unexpected winter storm, having the essentials on hand can help keep them safe as they wait to be rescued. This kit should include tools that can address vehicle issues, such as a tow rope or chain, booster cables, fuel line antifreeze, and a fire extinguisher. It should also include items that can help keep them warm and safe, such as a first-aid kit, bottled water, gloves, a blanket, matches, and extra clothing. A flashlight with extra batteries, road flares, or warning lights and bright cloth to use as a flag can help alert rescuers. Drivers should also keep a copy of the company’s emergency contact list in their vehicles that includes contact information for their supervisors, so they can inform them.
Practicing safe driving behaviours in the winter requires skill, patience, and commitment. The right training and information can help protect your business and employees and is an important part of your risk management planning. Learn more about what other winter-related risks your business may face and other useful tips to ensure business continuity by visiting our blog.