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Dark nights and sub-zero temperatures, the winter months are slowly settling in. The joys. With that in mind, you must take the necessary precautions to stay safe on the road during the winter months. If you’re poorly prepared or fail to take the right measures, you could find yourself in a tricky situation. 

As we know all too well, the UK winter weather can be particularly unpredictable and a great pain. Wind, rain, snow, ice and even crisp sunshine can all cause problems on the road. So, it’s vital that you’re prepared for every eventuality, so that nothing can stop you from getting the job done. 

In this article, we’ll highlight some of our key winter driving tips for you to take on board so that you can stay safe on the road during the cold months and not be affected by the change in weather. 

We’ll cover: 

  • How Do Wintery Conditions Affect Road Users? 
  • Essential Winter Driving Tips For You to Follow

How Do Wintery Conditions Affect Road Users?

The optimum conditions for driving are dry weather, blue skies and no traffic – right? Well, wintery conditions bring the adverse to the table. Firstly, the unpredictable nature of the weather means that you’ve got to be prepared for anything when you’re behind the wheel. In the UK, it’s not uncommon for it to be dry one minute and then tipping down with the rain the next. 

Each weather condition brings its problems to the fore. When the road surface gets wet, you’ll find that you need to take extra care when stopping and manoeuvring the vehicle. Stopping distances are doubled in rainy weather. And that’s not all, you can multiply the normal stopping distance by 10 in snowy and icy conditions! 

Should your tyres not be prepared for rainy and cold conditions, you may not be able to stop in time and could be maximising any chance of having an accident on the road. Typical winter weather makes for tricky driving conditions. As we’ve said, it’s unpredictable, visibility can be incredibly poor and extra care has to be taken in abundance. 

That’s why it’s important to be prepared when driving your refrigerated vehicle during the winter months. After all, if you’re out on a delivery and are aiming to meet a tight window, you’re going to need a clear run. The last thing that you want is to encounter problems that cause delays – especially if you can avoid them, that is. 

Essential Winter Driving Tips For You to Follow

Drive Slowly and With Extra Care

When conditions are poor, driving quickly is extra dangerous. While some motorists may be abiding by the speed limit, it may prove to be reckless and you must assess the situation at face value. Of course, if you have any doubts about what speed is suitable, you should always drive at a pace you’re comfortable with so that you’re in full control of the vehicle. 

When on the road, you need to acknowledge that it’s not only your vehicle and life that may be at risk if you’re driving recklessly – but other road users too. Speed creates a lot of problems in perfect conditions, nevermind in a lot more dangerous conditions. Always plan ahead and cut out any need to drive quickly by giving yourself adequate time for the journey. 

Allow for Extra Stopping Distance

As we’ve mentioned, adverse weather conditions will have an affect on how immediately your brakes work. So, you’re going to have to account for this when stopping – otherwise, you could end up in a serious accident. Don’t leave it too late to brake, you could skid and slide and seriously hurt yourself and others on the road too. 

Plus, due to the fact you’re driving a large refrigerated van that weighs a lot more than a standard vehicle does, you should take into account that it’ll naturally take longer to stop. Plus, should you not, a collision may be more serious than a standard vehicle crash would be. You should bear this in mind and allow for extra distance to safely come to a stop. 

Prepare Yourself For the Worst 

In wintery conditions, you never know what might be around the corner – literally. What might seem like the simple route that you take every day, could be closed off due to dangerous weather conditions. With that in mind, you should always prepare yourself for the worst and make sure that you have an emergency winter driving kit to hand. 

Your emergency kit should cover you for a wide range of conditions – including personal items for the weather changing, spare parts for the refrigerated vehicle and other essentials. Your emergency kit should include: 

  • Windscreen scraper, wash fluid and spare wiper blades. 
  • Jump cables. 
  • Tyre chains and spare tyres. 
  • Grit or salt. 
  • Full tank of petrol. 
  • Essentials – mobile phone, charging equipment, plenty of fluids and warm clothing. 

Keep Your Refrigerated Van Well Maintained 

The cold weather can prove testing for your vehicle, not just you. For example, are you aware that exposure to cold weather can cause diesel to thicken? If this occurs, you could be looking at serious damage to your engine, which could prove costly to fix and could leave your vehicle out of action – leaving you to find an alternative method to carry out your work. 

And that’s not the only effect that cold and adverse weather conditions can have on your vehicle. After driving through deep puddles and small fords, you should always check your brakes are working properly. Water can damage your brakes and affect how well they work. 

Always make sure that your brakes are working properly – they’re crucial all year round, especially during winter months where driving conditions are poor. Other checks that you should complete on your vehicle are: 

  • Check that all your lights are in working order. 
  • Do your wipers work? Do the blades need replacing? 
  • Have your tyres got enough tread? Are they road safe? 
  • Are your mirrors all there? Visibility is poor, so you need to give yourself the best chance.
  • Treat your fuel to ensure it stays in ideal condition. 
  • Check your engine. Are there any warning lights? Is it working properly? 

Here at CoolKit, we offer service & maintenance packages, and with over 15 years’ experience in the manufacture of refrigerated vehicles, our customers can trust us with the service, maintenance and repair of their vehicles.

CoolKit Can Help You Find the Perfect Vehicle For Your Needs

During the winter months, you must have a fleet of vehicles that you can rely upon. Your business needs to keep on rolling through the poor conditions, so you should have full confidence in your fleet that you can continue to deliver your service without any interruption. 

Plus, having a fleet of modern vehicles will give you the confidence to know that your refrigerated vans can withstand the winter months and poor weather. The last thing anybody wants is to come to their van in the cold mornings and have to mess around jump starting it and carrying out regular maintenance, right? 

So, for more information on how CoolKit can help find the perfect fleet of refrigerated vans for your company or our service & maintenance packages, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or check out our current van listings. Our expert team will be on hand to answer any questions and alleviate any worries you may have. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!