Van Driving Training for Autumn Driving
Are you ready for the change in driving style that comes with the Autumn months? Brushing up on your van driving training for Autumn driving will ensure the safety of you and your team through proper driver risk assessment.
As the autumn is setting in, it is important to prepare and adjust your driving as it will bring hazards that can catch you out. Carrying out a driver risk assessment and ensuring familiarisation with UK driving laws will prepare your drivers for the tougher conditions of the Autumn.
As the days grow shorter your drivers’ behaviour and driving style becomes more important, as does the need to do daily vehicle checks and driver risk assessment. More than half of grey fleet drivers do not do even the basic daily vehicle checks.
Driver Risk Assessment Tips
Here are some tips for your drivers and fleet managers for dealing with the autumn weather. These should be familiar for those with van driving training but it is always worthwhile to develop the familiarisation with UK driver risk assessment rules.
These apply to all vehicles. Whether they are fleet cars, van, or grey fleet drivers, driver risk assessment is vital.
Driver Risk Assessment Prior to Driving
- Check the vehicle battery, before the winter comes. Most breakdowns in winter are battery related. This is because in the winter they strain more with the added use of lights, heated screens, seats and air conditioning used to demist and keep us warm. If the battery is struggling, it will likely let you down as it gets colder. It is down to the driver to do a risk assessment to lower the risk of winter break downs.
- You should ensure you have the correct pressures and no cuts or bulges in the walls of your tyres. For your familiarisation, the UK legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and the outer circumference. However, in winter we would recommend having tyres changed at 3mm to have better grip on the roads and to cut through the puddles.
- Before the icy mornings arrive, it is best to check antifreeze levels. Antifreeze is not just for the winter, it also helps in the summer as it has additives in to prevent corrosion, and in the summer stop the engine overheating. Part of autumn van driving is training yourself to check everything, leaving nothing neglected.
- As the darker nights move in, rush hour will be in the dark so lights should be an important check during your daily check. It is dangerous for yourself and others if your lights are not working and adjusted correctly, so ensure all lights are in working order. It may also be important to develop the familiarisation with UK driver risk assessment rules for your headlight use so you can avoid unnecessary fines.
Daily Driver Risk Assessment Checks
- Top up your windscreen washer with a de-icing additive. Make it stronger as it gets colder. This will help you keep a clear windscreen.
- In the autumn and winter, we have a low sun and little cloud cover when it is not raining. This can cause dazzle. The low sunlight as you drive home may not be always behind your sun visor, it may reflect from your mirrors or even back up from the road surface after a rain fall. So be sure to use your sun visors and have sunglasses in the vehicle. If you are dazzled, carry out a quick driver risk assessment and slow down and keep a steady pace.
- Many do not consider windscreen wipers front and rear. Make sure they are not split, or causing blur across the windscreen. Make sure you check these during your daily checks. A driver risk assessment you can check for is abnormal noises when they wipe as this may indicate they need replacing.
- Watch for more debris on the roads. Leaves and branches can cover potholes and road markings. Keep a good look at the road ahead. The wet and damp leaves can increase stopping distances. This should be something that you are well aware of from your van driving training but familiarisation with UK stopping distances is important for Autumn driving.
- Watch for wildlife. Animals will change their behaviour in the winter months as they prepare for the colder seasons. They may be out hunting for food and warmer places to stay and may come out across the roads more. Watch when you see the signs as they are known to be in the area.
Preparing for Autumn Driving
Having effective van driving training such as an advanced driving course or a driving for work course can help drivers anticipate and plan for these problems. This is the time to be getting drivers on to a course, particularly those who drive high mileage or will be doing long journeys on unfamiliar roads. This will encourage familiarisation with UK regulations as well as the need for driver risk assessment throughout the Autumn and Winter months.
When the temperature drops, the inside of a vehicle can be a nice warm cosy place when working. This is why it is vital to stay alert. You will need your full attention to complete a driver risk assessment with floods and blocked drains. Make sure to listen to local radio for weather warnings. Always clear your windscreen before setting off, be sure you can see out of all your windows and have clean mirrors.
If you or your drivers need to develop the familiarisation with UK driver risk assessment tips, Parry’s Fleet Services have many blogs that may be helpful. Take a look and get in touch if you need anymore advice.