DON’T GET STUCK OUT IN THE COLD
At any time, snow, sleet, and ice can make an appearance throughout Britain. The harsh winter weather can bring about hazards for your cab and your business as a whole. Knowing what to avoid and what precautions to take will help you save time and money, and ultimately protect yourself, your cab, and your passengers. Below our experts have outlined some useful tips to keep your cab on the road this winter.
Check the weather forecast and any road closure
Before heading out, check the weather and plan your route accordingly. Various mobile apps such as the MET office, Waze, and Google Maps can assist you with this and can notify you of real-time information about changes in both weather and road closures.
Check your vehicle
You should already be carrying out regular maintenance with your cab, but this is especially important in the winter months.
1) Tyres: the health of your tyres is vital in keeping safe on the road. A deep thread minimises the risk of skidding and it should be at least 3mm deep. This can be checked by inserting a 20p coin into the main thread grooves of a tyre. If the coin’s outer band can be seen after the insertion, contact your mechanic immediately. Threads that are under 1.6mm are illegal and driving with them can get you reprimanded with three penalty points and £2,500 fine per tyre.
2) Engine: perform your standard checks by checking your oil. Listen to any unusual sounds or leaks and get this check by a professional as soon as possible.
3) Pack a winter driving kit: we recommend keeping an emergency kit in your boot containing the following items:
- High visible clothing for you and your passenger
- A warm blanket and heat packs
- Portable charger
- Snow shovel
When you drive in the snow, your stopping distance is ten times longer than normal. Driving in rainy conditions doubles this. Slowing down will help increase your ability to respond to any hazards in front of you, and you should be particularly aware of black ice, which can make the road extremely dangerous due to its transparent nature.
In the instance your vehicle starts to skid, do not panic and avoid braking; instead, take your foot off the accelerator and hold the steering wheel straight. If your back wheels begin to slide, turn the wheel very slightly in the same direction. Driving in a higher gear, will increase your control of your vehicle and also minimises the chance of wheelspins.
Leave plenty of room between your cab and the vehicle in front to minimise collision. This also increases your visibility to other drivers.
Protecting your passengers
As well as taking driving precautions and ensuring your cab is in proper condition, the environment inside your cab can have a significant impact on your ability to drive.
Communicate to your customers that you may need to concentrate fully on the journey and reassure them that they are in safe hands. Try and answer any questions that they may have before the trip and set the expectation that the journey will be slower than usual. Additionally, let them know that you may be forced to use alternative routes.
While precautions can be taken to minimise the risk of accidents, risk can never be fully eradicated. The winter months can heighten the unpredictability of the weather and roads and therefore it is vital to protect yourself and your cab with specialist taxi insurance. With over 40 years of experience in the Licensed London Taxi Trade, we have expert knowledge in providing the protection you need to help keep your cab on the road.
In the event of an accident, ensure that you and your passengers are safe. Collect any evidence immediately such as photos of any damages to your vehicle and contact your insurance broker as soon as you can.
We are here to help
For more information on protecting your taxi, click here.