1. Check your vehicle condition
Probably the most obvious but also the most important tip of all! Making sure that your vehicle is serviced regularly in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations will help to avoid breakdowns and accidents caused by vehicle faults.
In addition, a quick daily walkaround could make all the difference when it comes to road safety. Look for any obvious signs of fluid or oil leakage, check the tread depth of your tyres and ensure there are no deep cuts in the sidewall. Also make sure to check your bodywork and windscreen for any signs of damage and check your lights, brakes and windscreen wipers to ensure they’re all operating correctly before your journey starts.
2. Plan Ahead
Whether you are delivering locally or further afield, you should plan your journey before you set off for the job. Planning as much of your journey as possible means having less reliance on route navigation which will help you focus more on the road ahead.
Another advantage of planning before you leave is that you can identify any upcoming traffic issues and stay away from challenging routes. You’ll also be able to give a more accurate ETA to the customer and it will help to reduce the need to speed to make up the time lost.
Lastly, it is also hugely important to schedule your breaks. 10-20% of crashes are estimated to be caused by fatigue, so give yourself some well-deserved rest as it will improve your levels of concentration and reaction time.
3. Don’t drive distracted
Driver distraction is one of the main causes of road traffic accidents. Overly loud music can affect reaction times. Research has shown that drivers can take up to 20% longer to perform physical and mental tasks when listening to loud music.
Satellite navigation aids are also fast becoming a major cause of driver distraction. Some drivers blindly follow instructions rather than anticipating the road ahead. If you follow Tip 2, hopefully, you will not have to rely on satellite navigation as much, which will reduce the risk of distraction.
4. Keep your distance
In the Autumn and Winter months, our roads become increasingly congested and road conditions become more challenging. The more space you maintain around you, both front and rear, the less likely you are to be in a collision.
During dry weather conditions, you should maintain at least two seconds-worth of distance between you and the vehicle in front. When visibility is low such as during light fog, light rain or night-time driving, you should double the distance to the car in front to a minimum of four seconds, and in severe weather conditions such as snow and ice then double the distance again. Just remember, you can’t crash into space!
5. Think seasonall
Driving conditions change with the seasons, so it’s important to be well-prepared to ensure you are driving safely across the year.
Safe winter driving can be exceptionally challenging! Drivers are faced with low temperatures and varying weather conditions including snow, ice, heavy rainfall and wind. Ensure your tyres are well-maintained or upgrade to winter tyres for the best performance on icy or wet roads.
What may be a short journey on a nice, sunny day could end up taking quite a bit longer if the weather is bad. With that in mind, it’s always worth giving yourself more time for your journey when driving in the snow. That way you’ve got a little more time to anticipate while you’re driving, plus to deal with potential road closures and detours.