It’s cool to care! Great van drivers consider other road users in winter says Mark Cartwright – Head of Vans, FTA

Posted on: Wednesday, 6 December 2017 by Matthew Newman

December is the busiest time of year for many van operators and even with a festive playlist on the stereo to keep your spirits up, the sheer volume of work can seem overwhelming.  But as FTA’s Head of Vans Mark Cartwright reminds us, it’s important to remember other road users when you’re rushing from drop to drop.

Van drivers don’t need reminding how hard it can be working in wet and cold weather, but the dark nights and winter temperatures have a big impact on other road users too.   Being a great van driver is all about adapting your driving to the road conditions and considering those around you.

Temperatures on the ground can be much lower than air temperatures, so even if you haven’t had to scrape the van in the morning there can still be ice on the road.  Leave a bigger stopping distance in winter weather and consider other drivers who may not be as experienced or sensible as you.

Van drivers don’t need reminding how hard it can be working in wet and cold weather, but the dark nights and winter temperatures have a big impact on other road users too.   Being a great van driver is all about adapting your driving to the road conditions and considering those around you.

Temperatures on the ground can be much lower than air temperatures, so even if you haven’t had to scrape the van in the morning there can still be ice on the road.  Leave a bigger stopping distance in winter weather and consider other drivers who may not be as experienced or sensible as you.

Well-maintained headlights are particularly important at this time of year.   A missing lamp is illegal for a reason – in the dark a single light can be very confusing, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists who might assume you’re a two-wheeled vehicle and completely misjudge your size.  Make sure you test your lights on a daily basis.  The easiest way to do this is to build them into a regular walk-round check.  FTA has a great video.

Speaking of cyclists and motorcyclists, they are particularly badly affected by headlights left on high-beam.  The dazzling light is made far worse by a helmet visor or glasses, making it almost impossible for them to see.   Failing to dip your lights might be irritating for car drivers, but it can be deadly for those on two wheels.

We all like a good moan about the state of the roads, but cyclists are particularly badly affected by puddles and potholes.  Defects near the kerb can fill with water and turn into mini skating rinks in cold weather.  So, give them a bit of extra room and be understanding if they pull out to avoid a hazard you might not be able to see. 

Finally, if you’re drinking over the holiday make sure you understand the ‘next day’ risks.  According to the Department for Transport, one in five people caught drink-driving are arrested the morning after they went out.  If you drink five pints of beer and head home at midnight, the alcohol will still be in your bloodstream at ten o’clock the next morning.   Having a cooked breakfast, cold shower or big glass of water won’t make any difference.

 

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