Are you ready for winter ?
Normally, at this time of year we have seen the first of the hard frosts, black ice and patrolling road gritters.
The mild weather will lead some of us into a false sense of security in terms of being "winter ready" with our minibuses .
Some simple actions and preparation will save a lot of inconvenience , worry , unplanned cost and of course will ultimately mean you are operating more safely.
EVA have been helping a number of schools with practical help around vehicle maintenance and driver training to prepare schools for winter.
When understanding the areas of risk to approach we suggest looking at them under the categories of Driver , Vehicle and Journey
Are you drivers experienced in winter driving ? Have they undertaken any training on how to avoid skidding but equally how to control a vehicle in a skid situation ?
Will they know what to do if the weather and driving conditions change suddenly with a full minibus of students ?
Are they competent in conducting pre vehicle checks before setting off ?
Are you vehicles regularly inspected by an external maintenance provider ?
Have you scheduled any specific winter checks for the vehicle ? .... to look at items such as
- Tyre condition , tread depth and pressures , suitability for winter driving.
- Windscreen and window condition. Any chips or cracks being repaired as they will make the screen vulnerable in extreme temperatures.
- Windscreen wipers and washer bottle operation. Ensure correct levels and concentration of windscreen washer fluid. Carry some spare
- Ensure all lights are working , including interior bulbs. Ensure you have means to clean headlamps at all times , a must when roads are salty.
- Check that heating and ventilation systems are working, this will ensure maximum visibility but also ensure passenger comfort.
- Have a winter emergency kit in the vehicle . High vis vests, folding spade, torches, take a flask for a hot drink in case you break down and have to wait for assistance.
- Maybe obvious , but ensure the fuel tank is at least always over half full . You do not want to risk running out of fuel !!
The most obvious point - Is the journey absolutely necessary! Safety first
Plan your route to use roads that are likely to be less likely affected by weather extremes (Not always easy to predict but keep it as a consideration).
Allow extra time for your journey
Keep an eye on the weather forecasts
We will see poor weather over the winter , it can change in an instant. Please be prepared and stay safe.