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    winter driving tips for your fleet

    The weather in the UK can be unpredictable and it will no doubt be set to change in the coming months, which is why looking at winter driving tips with your fleet is crucial in keeping your drivers safe. The UK winters typically include a mixture of heavy rain, snow, ice, and strong winds, making it more dangerous out on the roads. If you are managing a fleet of vehicles, you will need to ensure all drivers are aware of the hazards and to help ensure their safety.

    We have put together some of our best winter driving tips to enable your fleet to stay safe on the roads.

    Weather to look out for

    Before setting off in their vehicles, your drivers need to be aware of the various hazardous weather conditions and how they can impact their journey. If the weather is expected to impact travel, The MET office will release a warning. These warnings vary from yellow, amber, and severe. You should always check for weather warnings and alert your drivers before they start their day. 


    Heavy rain can be dangerous as it can distort your vision, and tyres can lose traction on the roads, making them more slippery with a higher chance of a road traffic accident. Rain can also cause flooding, which means your vehicles may have to adjust their routes to avoid high-risk flooded areas.


    Snow can be difficult to drive in too, especially if your drivers are not used to it. Some major roads will be gritted with salt in preparation for snow or ice to help with traction, but quieter roads that do not have much traffic may not be gritted and are more of a risk to drive down. Encourage your drivers to regularly listen to forecasts and be aware of changing conditions on planned journeys. 

    During conditions of ice and snow it may be necessary to pull away in second gear to avoid wheel spin in ice and snow. Equally drivers should ensure that they brake gently and slowly to avoid skids and spins. If a car or van does skid then the driver should release the brakes and de-clutch to regain control. Stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow, so be sure your drivers can judge this properly and avoid any unnecessary claims on your fleet insurance policy. If you get stuck in snow then you should straighten the wheels where possible and clear surrounding snow. Placing material such as carpet, or sacks under tyres will help gain some traction.


    Icy roads can be extremely hazardous. When the temperatures reach below zero, be wary of black ice, it can often be hard to spot, especially at night. If the windscreen is frozen, then expect part of the roads to be frozen too.


    During the winter, you may find some mornings are particularly foggy. Make sure your drivers use their fog lights and try and keep your distance from vehicles in front so that there is plenty of time to break if they need to.

    Prepare your fleet for winter weather

    There are many things you can do to keep your fleets safe through the winter months and help with the challenging weather conditions. Here are some winter driving tips you can use in preparation:

    • Switch vehicle tyres to winter efficient ones. Winter tyres are specifically made to handle driving in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius and are more effective in braking and handling corners in colder weather.
    • Maintaining your vehicles by checking brake pads, windscreen wipers and batteries can be affected by the colder weather. You will also need to ensure that all drivers check the vehicles lights before driving, especially as the days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. They will also need to test their fog lights in preparation for bad fog, which can impact their visibility.
    • Ensure your drivers are topping the vehicle fluids such as anti-freeze helps to regulate the engine during extreme temperatures and ensure the vehicle's oil is topped up.
    • Check that your fleet insurance is up to date and that you have sufficient cover for all eventualities.

    There are also specific training courses that your fleet drivers can undertake to learn and practice how to drive in various weather conditions. Knowing how to handle a vehicle in rain, snow and high winds – especially if a larger vehicle filled with goods - will keep them safe.

    Tools you should supply for the winter

    Once all vehicles are checked and ready to drive in the winter months, you will want to ensure that all drivers are well equipped with these winter driving tips and with tools to help them if they are ever stuck due to the weather.

    De-icer and ice scraper

    Ensure all drivers have a de-icer or an ice scraper in their vehicle to remove any ice from their windows and mirrors to help quickly clear their vehicles so they are safe to drive.

    A shovel and potentially a band of salt or sand

    Provide a shovel and salt or sand throughout the winter months in case drivers get stuck or are stranded in snow.

    Jump cables

    Drivers should always have jump cables to hand, especially during colder months where batteries can be easily affected by the cold weather.

    A torch

    A torch is important as it gets dark earlier. It’s better to provide a working torch than relying on a mobile device which drains the battery and will be needed in emergency.

    A hi-vis

    Always provide a hi-vis, this is so your drivers are easily visible if they must exit their vehicle on the side of the road if they break down.

    Extra warm clothes and a blanket

    Provide a warm blanket in their vehicle in case one of your fleet vehicles breaks down in minus temperatures. Sometimes a recovery vehicle takes a while to reach drivers so having warm clothes or blanket, water and food will help to keep drivers comfortable.

    Half a tank of fuel

    Your drivers should always check that their vehicles have at least a half tank of fuel, this will help them if they get stuck in bad weather.

    Every driver must also be aware they need to do the following each journey:

    • Defrost their windows, mirrors, and cameras
    • Check they have everything with you
    • Tyres are inflated with a decent amount of tread
    • All liquid levels are ok
    • Lights are working properly

    Winter driving tips 

    Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front

    If weather conditions are bad and visibility is poor, make sure your drivers keep a good distance between them and the vehicles in front. Fleet technology will monitor your driver's behaviours, which can help you understand who needs driver training. A general good winter driving tip is to keep at least two vehicle spaces in front of you to allow plenty of braking time in the rain, and up to 10 spaces if driving in the snow.

    Accelerate and brake slowly on wet or gritted roads

    The roads can be slippery when wet or if they have been recently gritted. Accelerate gently using low revs. Drivers may need to take off in second gear to avoid skidding. They should also brake slowly, otherwise, the wheels may lock in icy conditions, causing the vehicle to skid more.

    Keep a consistent speed when going up hills

    If your drivers need to travel uphill in their vehicles when it has been snowing, then it is best they keep their speed consistent, this will help them stay in control of the vehicle and have enough momentum to get up the hill if it is snowing.

    Avoid driving through flooded water, safely turn around and go a different route

    Most standard vehicles are not suitable for driving through flooded water, so it is best to avoid areas that are prone to flooding in heavy rain. Driving through flooded water can impact the brakes and flood the engine.

    Drive carefully when going around bends and corners

    If the temperature is below 5-degree Celsius, your fleet drivers should be cautious when going around bends and corners. There can be hidden ice which, if you drive over at high speeds, can cause accidents.

    How to drive electric vehicles in winter

    Cold temperatures can considerably hinder electric vehicle batteries and their ability to charge. It also uses more battery power to drive in the cold, so ensuring you have a decent charging station at work will help keep the battery going.

    To keep electric vehicles well maintained in winter, you can do the following:

    • Keep EV’s plugged in as often as possible to ensure the vehicle maintains a full charge.
    • Make a note of EV charging stations on your route, especially fast charging.
    • Refrain from using the internal heating system to save energy.
    • Limit the speed to preserve battery life.

    We would recommend gathering all of these winter driving tips and advice into a guide for your drivers so they know how to drive and what their vehicles should contain when the winter months hit. Ensure your fleet insurance is adequate and up to date as you enter a season that does come with driving risks where your vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident.

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