Winter is upon us, and with the excitement of the festive season comes frozen roads and repeated snow warnings. Regardless of where in the UK they are based, operators nationally should prepare themselves for the forthcoming frosty weather and advise their drivers accordingly.
The most obvious danger to drivers of both haulage vehicles and buses is the freezing over of the road surfaces. At a time where rain falls more frequently, and in colder temperatures, the presence of black ice and slippery highway surfaces will undoubtedly skyrocket. In such times, obligations fall on both operator and driver – be they the same individual or separate – to have consideration for health and safety. One area operators and Transport Managers should be thinking about is the drivers’ hours rules. Balancing the needs of the business to arrive on time with drivers who need to drive safely in sometimes difficult weather is a priority. Equally, drivers must watch their speed on the road and have an awareness of surface condition. Private or secluded roads are much less likely to have the benefit of council gritting services and, consequently, may prove to be much deadlier if you are driving your heavy vehicle at speed.
In addition to slippery surfaces, potential failure of public transport in snowy weather could see an increase in road congestion. This obviously calls for even more care on the part of the drivers of HGVs, as slippery surfaces coupled with increases in traffic do not make the safest driving conditions.
Please contact a member of our regulatory team on 01254 828300 if you need any advice over the winter period.