Every autumn, accident rates increase just as the clocks change, with November recording the most incidents every year for four out of the past five years, according to statistics.
In 2002, there were 14% more collisions recorded in October and November than in September, according to Kenny Roberts, managing director of ATC Driver Training.
Roberts said many drivers are ill-prepared for these changes in road conditions and visibility. He added: ‘Many of these could be prevented with some simple advice to drivers regarding pre-journey preparation and a change in driver attitude while behind the wheel in the winter months.’
Ian Davis-Knight, head of MOT and technical operations for the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) said the onus on safer driving throughout the winter months is also on the drivers themselves.
He added: ‘In the winter, speed can be the enemy, so winter driving means steady driving. Stopping distances double in the rain and on icy roads can increase 10 times.’
Useful supplies for fleet drivers to carry in their cars could include a torch, spare batteries and bulbs, screen scraper/de-icer, jump leads, warning triangle, first aid kit, blankets and warm jacket, shovel, fire extinguisher, a rope for towing and road maps.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is urging the Government to introduce a three-year trial to give Britain lighter evenings all year round by scrapping ‘daylight saving’ clock changes.
Head of road safety Kevin Clinton said: ‘We know nothing can be done this year, but in the meantime everyone can play a part in trying to ensure the expected rise in deaths and injuries is as small as possible.’
Seven ways to stay safe on the road
The Retail Motor Industry Federation has produced the following checklist that fleet executives could encourage their drivers to follow: