SPOT THE SAFETY VIOLATION: Don’t Drive a Snow-Covered Vehicle
What did the driver of this car forget to do before getting behind the wheel?
Driving in the winter can be hazardous for a number of reasons. For example, snow and ice can make the road surfaces slippery. Although you may not have much control over the weather or road conditions, you do have control over the condition of your vehicles.
The driver of the car in this picture didn’t adequately clear the windshield so he could drive safely. He should’ve cleared all of the snow from the windows, so he could see clearly.
In addition, the driver should’ve cleared the snow from the car’s hood and roof, because this snow could easily slide down or blow onto the windows and block his view. And snow on one car can blow off and endanger others on the road.
Ensuring that the vehicles your workers operate are in a safe condition on the road this winter is important because if workers get into or cause a traffic accident while on the job, they or someone else could get injured or killed—and your company could face liability.
Bottom line: Implement a winter driving policy. As part of the training on that policy, instruct workers who drive as part of their job to clear all of the snow and ice from the windows, roof, hood and trunk of their vehicles. They should also ensure that the headlights and tail lights are clear and visible.
10 Winter Driving Tips
Here are 10 additional winter driving tips you can give workers to protect them this season:
- Prepare the vehicle for a trip before you leave. (Use this checklist to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared for winter driving.)
- Plan ahead by checking out the weather and road conditions on your route.
- If the weather or road conditions are bad, decide whether the trip is really necessary or can be postponed until conditions improve.
- Drive according to road conditions by going slow and maintaining a safe distance between vehicles, especially if there’s black ice on the road. (Watch this video on braking in winter weather conditions.)
- Understand that although four- and all-wheel drive vehicles can reduce your chances of getting stuck, they won’t help you stop faster in slippery conditions.
- Ensure the vehicle has winter or snow tires on it and the tires are in good condition. (See these four tire tips.)
- Wear your seatbelt.
- Carry your cell phone with you in case you get stuck or into an accident. But don’t text or talk while driving!
- Have a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. (Use this checklist to ensure that the kit has all the necessary components.)
- Perform regular maintenance on the vehicle to keep it in good working condition, including checking that the windshield wiper fluid is designed for winter use and topped off.