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Tue, 17/12/2019
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The Van Driver’s Guide To Winter Driving

As we all know the weather in the UK is variable at best, and the winter months are no exception. Driving in the winter months is challenging for all drivers and their vehicles, particularly if you make your living as a van driver. This can be a van driver’s busiest time especially in the run up to Christmas when online shopping hits its peak. If the weather conditions decline most drivers can rearrange their journey but many are obliged to carry out their deliveries as customers expect a prompt delivery service whatever the weather.

Van Preparation

By thinking ahead and having the right equipment in the van, drivers can feel reassured that if the weather conditions do worsen that they will have a good chance of making their deliveries and arriving home safely.  Keeping an ‘Emergency Winter Kit’ in your van is advisable leaving you to concentrate on your driving.

Be prepared and keep these items in your van:

  • Ice scraper
  • De-icer
  • Sunglasses – for low sun/snow glare
  • Jump leads
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Hat, snow boots and gloves
  • Hi-Vis vest and hazard sign
  • Shovel
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Something to eat and drink before you set off

Preparing your van is only half the battle when it comes to staying safe on the roads during the winter. Plan your route and try to keep to the main roads if your delivery route will allow.  Always allow extra time due to the weather conditions and potential road diversions and hopefully you should keep on track with your deliveries and get home safely.

Getting your van serviced on a regular basis, particularly during the winter.  A pre-winter service is really important because potential problems can be identified before they happen. This allows your van and your business to stay on track during the winter and not in the garage awaiting repairs.

Did You Know?

If you leave snow on the roof of your vehicle whilst you are driving it can result in a police fine.

You may want to set off straight away – especially if you are short on time – but it’s important to first ensure your windscreen, windows, mirrors and lights are completely clear and de-iced and your whole van is clear of any snow. Clear vision of the road is a priority!

The 5 Key Vehicle Checks To Make Before You Start Your Day

  1. Are all of your lights clear and working?
  2. Are your tyres worn or do they need inflating?
  3. Is your screen wash filled?
  4. Are your windscreen wipers in good working condition?
  5. Have you checked your oil?

What Else Should You Consider?

Wipe Your Feet

Just as you would walking into your home, wipe your feet when you get into the van – this advice could prevent your feet slipping on the pedals.

Driving in Winter Weather Conditions

Making sure you are ready for anything the winter season throws at you this year.  It’s not just a good idea to take sensible precautions before you take to the road, it is a legal requirement.

Wet Roads and Floods

When the road is wet, your braking distance doubles, and this is only made worse when there is snow or ice on the road. Therefore, leaving more space than usual between yourself and other drivers is not only advisable to keep you safe, but it also means that you have the option to drive around a vehicle in front of you if it was to get stuck.

If there are flooded areas, go slow and steady in a low gear and do not stop. Always check your brakes once you come out the other side of flood water. If you’re driving through surface water and begin to aquaplane, don’t touch the accelerator or brake and hold the steering wheel tight. Trying to steer is pointless as you will have no control.

Driving in Fog

If it is foggy during your journey, maintain a steady, constant speed as accelerating and sudden braking can cause accidents during normal weather conditions, but if you have varying patches of visibility due to fog, you should take extra care. Turn your fog lights on when needed but remember to turn them off again when normal visibility returns.

Snow Driving

If your van does get stuck in the snow, engage the ‘diff lock’ if you have one. This will help to give your vehicle traction to get you out of the snow - but don’t forget to turn it off. If you don’t have a 'diff lock' and you need to get out of the snow, alternate between reversing and accelerating in the highest gear you can until you find traction. A low gear could just dig you in deeper!

Above all, driving steadily and keeping alert are the safest driving practices throughout the winter months. Getting the job done and making the all-important Christmas deliveries are a part of a van delivery service, but safety is always the most important factor.

Get The Right Level Of Van Insurance Cover

We would always advise you to shop around to find the right cover and price for your van insurance, and the Be Wiser Van Insurance page is a great place to start. We compare quotes from a panel of leading UK van insurers to find the right level of cover for you. Enjoy £195 of free policy extras this winter, including all-important RAC Breakdown Cover - get a quote online today.