The Seven 'S's of Driving Safely this Winter
Winter is well underway and even though the nights are getting shorter, the cold weather can still create treacherous road conditions. Here are our seven S’s to ensure you stay safe on the roads throughout Europe.
When you’re in a pinch timewise, it’s very easy to push beyond the safe limits. Working to the limit of your tachograph, speeding or bending the rules of the road may shave off some time, but can also be extremely dangerous especially in severe weather conditions. Never put your workload ahead of your own wellbeing. Take your time and don’t feel like you’re letting anyone down if you’re late for a pickup - a reliable driver is a safe driver.
In poor weather conditions, your vehicle can either be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Before you start your journey be absolutely certain that everything is working as it should.
- Always perform walkaround checks of your vehicle before you set off, no matter how short your journey
- Keep your tank full. This prevents you getting caught out and also adds extra stability and traction on the road
- Completely clean and defrost all windows and mirrors before any departure so your view is not obstructed
Travelling in an unsafe vehicle could be detrimental not only to your safety but also to your wallet. If you are stopped by a DVSA officer and there is an issue, you will be driving away with a hefty fine.
A dirty van means a less visible van. No one likes to find ‘clean me’ written on their van or truck, so if that isn’t enough of a reminder to hit the car wash frequently, remember that muck build up severely reduces your visibility. Whenever you stop to take a break, always clear away built up snow and ice from lights to increase visibility. LED lights are especially susceptible to build up. If you aren’t clean, you aren’t seen.
It’s very easy to find yourself driving in a convoy on a long journey, but there isn’t always safety in numbers. If one vehicle makes a mistake and you are driving too close to the them, this will have a ripple effect with all those behind. Keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles.
An experienced (and sensible) driver always knows to use common sense. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, there’s going to be a reason for it. Use your honed judgment and don’t defer from it.
- Get a distracting text down halfway down the M1? Check it later.
- Feel the weather is too dangerous? Come off the road and wait it out.
- Think the layby you’re parked in leaves you vulnerable? Park elsewhere.
- Think the person behind you is driving too closely? Change lanes.
Speeding should be the last thing on your mind in poor weather. Make sure every decision is taken with ample time. Break smoothly, drive appropriately and remain observant of your surroundings. It’s very easy to go into autopilot on long journeys, but it’s not safe to do so. Do not rush; Speed kills.
It can be easy to assume because you’re safe in your cab you’ve got everything you need. Always prepare for every situation by carrying the appropriate equipment.
Besides a standard roadside emergency kit, pack
- extra food and drink
- portable charging devices (so you can remain contactable even without power)
- warm clothes and boots
- a sleeping bag and blankets
- reflective signs
You never know when you may end up stranded. Make sure you’re prepared when it happens. Do research before you depart to make sure you have everything you need to reach your destination.
Above all else, ensure your personal safety is your number one priority. A sailing can be rebooked, a load can be delayed, a vehicle can be replaced, and a shipment can be missed. There are no trucking or courier jobs which are worth giving your life for and no company/client expects you to put a delivery ahead of your wellbeing. Safety always comes first - do what you need to do to ensure yours.
If you are having any problems reaching your sailing on time, contact our customer services team and we will do our best to rearrange your booking.