By David Brennan CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental
As the ‘Beast from the East’ threatens its return and winter takes hold across the UK, there is a greater need to ensure vehicles are fit for the road and that drivers are aware of the hazards extreme cold weather can bring.
Ice cool driving style
Poor weather conditions obviously pose a greater risk of vehicle incidents. Damage claims spike during extreme weather, with last year’s ‘Beast’ resulting in over 13,100 insurance claims worth £17 million for car damage. On one day alone in February 2018 the number of insurance claims was more than a third higher than average, with two thirds directly attributed to snow and ice.
For all drivers, especially when there is a risk of ice, tyre depth is vital for both controlled steering and braking. Stopping distances can be doubled in wet conditions or up to ten times as long when roads are icy, according to the RAC. Drivers should ensure tyres have a minimum tread depth of 4mm to be able to cope with ice and they should not drive at all if tyre depth is less than the legal requirement of 1.6mm.
Right vehicles in the right place
Last year, the ‘Beast’ cost the UK economy £1bn a day, with extreme weather affecting motorways and A roads. Therefore, having the right vehicles to navigate these wintery conditions will minimise business disruption and help keep road users safe. If you are a courier company, even having one vehicle out of action can harm efficiency and risks damaging reputations and customer relationships if deliveries cannot be fulfilled.
Rental is one solution that is increasingly being used by businesses during winter to ensure fleets can fulfil requirements as vehicles tend to be newer, well maintained and less likely to break down than older, purchased assets. Newer vehicles are also equipped with advanced features such as automatic seatbelt tightening, autonomous braking and deeper tyre tread, helping ensure the safety of drivers.
Duty of care
Rental vehicles are also guaranteed to be legally compliant, enabling businesses to fulfil their duty of care. Vehicles can be optimised or upgraded depending on the season and a rental provider can source additional features such as extra lighting and chevrons, ensuring drivers are always prepared for even the most challenging conditions.
Unpredictability calls for flexibility
Flexibility during extreme weather is another reason why businesses are turning towards rental, especially at times of peak demand. With the best providers offering a range of options from daily to longer-term rental for over 28 days, fleet managers can respond to market demand and flex fleets as required. Examples include retailers needing additional vehicles to cope with the flurry of deliveries over peak periods, and utility companies requiring modified vans and 4x4s to reach customers in remote areas to carry out maintenance and repairs.
As the mercury is set to plummet, fleet managers and drivers alike need to be prepared to tackle all weather conditions. Rental is one solution that can help fulfil an employers’ duty of care while minimising costs and business disruption. With rental offering a flexible mobility solution for those winter months, can your business afford to ignore the potential benefits?