Take Care This Winter

With Black Friday and Christmas fast approaching, it’s particularly important that you do your daily walkaround checks this winter.

Most of the faults discovered by DVSA officers at the roadside could have been easily prevented if the driver had carried out their walkaround checks.

Statistics show that last December, there was a dramatic spike in the numbers killed on Britain’s roads from 153 in November to 171 in December. There are any number of possible explanations for this. It could be poor weather conditions, shorter daylight hours, or an increase in road traffic.

What you can take from this, though is simple - take care. This doesn’t just apply to how you drive, but to how you maintain your vehicle. Making sure it’s roadworthy is as important as getting enough rest and driving for your conditions.

Simple faults

Faults like defective tyres, loose wheel nuts, and blown light bulbs are easy to fix. However, they carry a fixed penalty of up to £300 each and faults like a defective tyre could even mean three penalty points.

And it isn’t just operator’s who are liable for penalties - drivers are responsible for their vehicle’s condition too.

All these faults can be easily spotted by carrying out a quick walkaround check. So, what can you do to avoid missing easy to spot faults like these? Here’s a few tips for making walkaround checks part of your daily routine.

Check it before you set off

You shouldn’t think of your walkaround checks as an inconvenience, but as something you must do before you set off.

Doing a quick check before you set off will help keep all road users safe. It's much better to discover an unsafe tyre before you set off rather than while driving at speed.

Implementing an electronic system for recording and managing your defect reports can streamline the whole process. Making it easier for both the driver and operator.

Take the time to do it properly

This might seem obvious, but you should always make sure that you have enough time to perform your checks before setting off.

You should also make sure you have got the correct equipment whatever the conditions, like a torch for performing walkaround checks in the dark. If you are using a mobile app then you can use the torch on your phone.

Make sure your staff know what they are doing

Operators, when hiring drivers you need to make sure that they know how to perform a walkaround check properly. If they do not, it is important that you provide training.

This training needs to be repeated regularly. This might seem like a hassle at first, but it will save you time and money in the long run.

Keep an eye on things during your journey too

Making sure your vehicle is safe to drive is not something that stops once you start driving. You need to make sure everything is in working order during your journey too.

So if you discover a problem that makes your vehicle unsafe to drive, that means you cannot continue to drive it. You need to report the problem and get it fixed before you continue.

A good tip is if you effectively treat it like a breakdown. Just because the vehicle can still drive, that does not mean you should carry on driving it.

Lukas Gamble

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