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Are you and your vehicle prepared for the Winter months?

With a fleet of vehicles that are needed on the road in the dark winter weather, there is a larger risk of problems. The entire vehicle performance can be affected by freezing temperatures, and roads can become treacherous. However, cold weather in the UK tends to stay within certain boundaries and is therefore fairly predictable –  meaning we can plan ahead. Here are a few ways you can ensure your van is prepared for the colder months:

Tyre pressure

A poorly inflated tyre will not only drain fuel more quickly but also presents a danger, especially on roads that are also likely to be icy or wet in the winter weather. Indeed, cold weather causes tyre pressure to drop faster than usual, so check regularly. Check your handbook for full details, but the tyre pressure should be somewhere between 30-35psi.

Check that there is little perishing on the tyres and that each van has a spare tyre plus the appropriate tools (jack, nuts etc.) so that you can actually change it should problems occur. In addition, your tyre tread should be at least 3mm in depth.

Engine coolant/antifreeze

Filling the radiator to the appropriate level is simple, even for someone who knows nothing about cars. Fill it at the correct level (to the warm level when warm etc.), and make sure the ratio of coolant to water is correct.

Don’t be too concerned if you overfill it slightly. It’s more dangerous if it’s underfilled, and the engine overheats, cracking the radiator and seals and possibly rendering the car unusable as the engine lets fluids flood into places they shouldn’t.

Windscreen washer/de-icer

Obviously you’re much more likely to use these in the cold weather, so make sure that you have a supply on hand. Don’t be tempted to drive off while your windows are still misted up, as your peripheral vision could be obscured – a dangerous circumstance.


If the temperature is particularly brutal in your area and drops below freezing, you might consider swapping to winter oil, which is slightly thinner and flows more easily. Thicker oil can make it harder to start the engine, which is difficult enough already in winter. recommends using a 5W oil for the colder seasons.

 Be mentally prepared

Allow yourself a little more time to get to destinations, and drive slowly while allowing greater distance between yourself and the vehicles ahead. Corners, especially on roads that have not been gritted, should be taken especially slowly. Brakes should be applied in a sparing manner, and if skidding does occur steer into it rather than away. Try to plan your route beforehand and stick to motorways and A-roads that are more likely to have been treated by gritting lorries.


Make sure you have a spare mobile phone and charger, water and food, blankets, first aid kit, and a warning triangle somewhere in the vehicle. A torch should be kept in the glovebox. Some people alleviate the risk of getting stuck in snow or on ice by carrying a sack or ragged material that can be placed under tyres to give them traction. If you’re newly leasing the vehicle, bring these items with you in the hope that none of them will be required.



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Undercover lorry to target "fatal four" motoring offences

For the last three weeks, officers have been patrolling the roads in a lorry to target what they call the “fatal four” motoring offences: using a mobile, drink or drug driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.

The unmarked HGV gives cops a better vantage point to see motorists texting at the wheel or watching movies on their mobiles. Equipped with flashing lights, the white lorry has been instrumental in catching out other dangerous drivers as part of Operation Allied Wolf, code-name of a road policing operation across Devon and Cornwall.


“With Bluetooth in cars people aren’t using mobile phones up to their ear as much as they used to, but we know that people use it to stream videos and check social media activity and to even update social media while they’re driving.

The elevated view you get from the cab of the truck is really, really important to be able to detect offences, to be able to see a mobile phone in a drivers lap. It’s another tactic. It’s something else we’re prepared to use. We’re prepared to innovate to keep people safe.”

– PC Ian Griffiths. Devon  Cornwall Police


Chief Inspector Leisk said: “Operation Allied Wolf has proved itself to be a very effective tool for improving road safety and also for providing an excellent opportunity to educate road users about unacceptable driving behaviours. We urge the public to play their part in keeping our roads safe by driving within the speed limit, always ensuring they are fit to drive, wearing seat belts and not being distracted when driving.”

Using a hand-held mobile while driving has been illegal for a decade and is subject to three penalty points and a £100 fine, rising to a possible £1,000 on conviction in court. But Government figures show the number of accidents in which mobile phones and texting have been contributory factors has soared by 21% in only three years.

Drivers must understand that if their judgement is impaired because of these factors, then being “under the limit” will not prevent them from being arrested and possibly prosecuted.


Apart from the fatal-four offences mentioned the undercover lorry has even caught a fellow lorry driver cooking a meal on a hob in his cab.

Sources: Plymouth Herald, Daily Mail UK



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