Page 29 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - December 2021
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Aside from weather conditions,
the lack of light during the winter months can also have an impact, with a severe accident rate of 33% when driving in
the dark without light.
How should transport managers navigate these hazards?
Information is power, and with greater awareness of the potential hazards, transport managers can prepare and respond quickly to what winter brings.
Here are some practical tips to remind drivers of:
Driving in the mist or fog
Upon entering mist or fog, drivers should reduce their speed, increase
the distance between them and the vehicle in front, and turn on the fog
light if the visibility drops below 100 metres. Drivers may want to use a full beam, but this can reduce visibility even further. They should also avoid switching the fog light on and off, which can distract other road users. Importantly,
if a vehicle is involved in an accident when driving in fog but hasn't got its fog lights on, it could invalidate their insurance policy.
Driving in the snow and on ice
Good tyre grip is essential; keep your speed down and allow up to 10 seconds between you and the car in front, and therefore factor in longer journey times. Sudden movements could destabilise a vehicle, so accelerate, brake, steer and change gear as smoothly as possible to reduce skidding.
Before you set off on your journey, ensure you have a charged mobile, food and drink and a blanket on board in case you get stuck in traffic for an extended period. Also, it is important to check that windows and mirrors are clean before setting off.
Driving in the dark
When driving in the dark, use your lights appropriately and keep your vehicle’s lights clean to help with visibility. In addition, drivers should make sure they don’t get behind the wheel when tired and be extra vigilant of obstacles on the road, like night-time roadworks.
Driving in high winds
Drivers should plan their journeys carefully, choosing a route with less exposure to the weather, as well as preparing for sudden gusts of wind by driving slowly and steadily, particularly in exposed areas. High winds also increase the chance of debris on the road, so drivers must be keen-eyed for additional obstacles that may be on the road.
As well as reinforcing practical tips, examining real-time datasets will help transport managers extract valuable insight to inform decision making.
For example, those who have visibility of their fleets via telematics can use real-time data to help manage risk during unpredictable weather conditions.
Peter Millichap
Whether changing routes or modifying schedules to avoid potentially hazardous conditions and help eliminate delays and disruptions.
They can also monitor driver performance and behaviour during adverse weather – such as sharp cornering, rapid acceleration and harsh braking – to make impactful changes and improve driver safety. Similarly, drivers’ hours and fatigue levels recorded via a tachograph system can be used to better understand journey times in the darker months. Vehicle cameras placed internally and externally can also help provide additional evidence if an accident occurs.
As a global leader in telematics technology, Teletrac Navman understands how turning data into decisions is becoming a key priority for transport managers, helping them manage risk
and improve safety for all road users, no matter what seasonal difficulties arise.
For more information, visit the new dashboard here.
Peter Millichap is marketing director at Teletrac Navman UK

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