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December 20, 2019

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Driver safety

Winter driving doubles risks for fleet drivers

Winter weather and the festive season double the risk of accidents for fleet and work drivers, says DriveTech.

car accidentThe number of casualty crashes caused by driving too fast for conditions nearly doubles from October to December according to new data released by DriveTech, part of the AA and specialist in fleet risk and safety management and driver training.

With one in three road deaths involving a vehicle being driven for work, fleet drivers cite ‘pressure to meet schedules’ as the main reason for taking risks on the road, while increased workloads, fatigue and road rage are among the other top risks at Christmas.

Up to four times more vehicles than usual take to the roads over the Christmas period, and for fleet drivers the workload increases significantly, regardless of industry and vehicle category.

With 65% of all company vehicles estimated to be involved in an incident in the next 12 months, it is a sobering statistic that 71% of UK companies do not provide regular training for drivers. Additionally, 39% of companies do not have systems or procedures in place to manager driver fatigue and almost a quarter admit that they are not fully aware of their exact requirements for managing road risk.

Work drivers are:

  • 48% more likely to drive while fatigued;
  • 40% more likely to tailgate;
  • 40% more likely to commit undertaking errors;
  • 25% more likely to commit junction errors.

Tyre performance

Driving accidents increase by 20% in winter and are much higher in December than any other month of the year. The performance of standard tyres deteriorates when the temperature drops below seven degrees. ABS systems are less effective on ice and snow, increasing stopping distances. Another major risk is rain falling on frozen surfaces, causing black ice which is hard to spot and can occur when the temperature drops between +4°C and -4°C. On a wet road, the stopping distance doubles, while in snow and ice the stopping distance can increase by up to 10 times.

Colin Paterson, Head of Marketing at DriveTech says: “We urge companies to ensure that all employees who drive for work are trained and prepared. Employees who drive on business are more likely to be killed at work than those employed as deep-sea divers or coal miners! Despite statistics demonstrating increased risks for fleet and at work drivers, less than one quarter of companies have regular training for their drivers.”

How to correctly mitigate risk

By simply expanding driver risk management approaches, companies could reduce accident rates by as much as 35%. There is an entire range of courses for fleet companies and drivers, including winter driving skills, which help equip and prepare fleet drivers, mitigate risks and prevent incidents.

Driving for Better Safety - Free eBook download

With employees who drive for business more likely to be killed at work than deep sea divers or coal miners, driver safety is a vital business consideration.

Download this eBook from Driving for Better Business and SHP to cover:

  • The danger of the roads;
  • Comparing road safety in the UK to the rest of Europe;
  • Decreasing risk: Avoiding accidents;
  • Road safety best practice;
  • What is fleet risk?
  • Managing work-related road safety.
Driver Safety eBook cover

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