Lee Wolstenholme's blog: 16 November - Brake's Pledge is particularly apt now winter is here
16 November 2016
Promoted by Brake, Road Safety Week is an excellent initiative aiming to change driver and passenger behaviour to make communities safer. This year the focus is on The Pledge, which encourages motorists to be Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent and Sharp, and their road usage to be Sustainable.
Credit must go to Arval for its longstanding support of Brake and the charity's programme that assists employers in better managing risk and more effectively engaging their staff on driving safely.
Now that winter has arrived and the festivities will be in full swing before we know it, it's a very fitting time indeed for company car and van drivers to ponder on the six components of Brake's Pledge:
Slow driving when approaching bends and brows is best practice at all times of the year but especially in the winter when black ice poses an added threat and other bad weather hampers visibility. Treacherous pavements often mean pedestrians walk in the gutter and it's not unheard of for children, the elderly and others to slip over, meaning drivers should take extra care.
Sober is perhaps an unappealing concept when minds wander to thinking about office Christmas parties, but not touching a drop will keep drivers and those around them safer if they're not able to plan ahead and get around by taxi or other transport.
Secure means ensuring that drivers and passengers are all wearing seatbelts, whilst the plea for motorists to be Silent refers to not taking and making phone calls when driving, at a time when police fines for using mobiles at the wheel are falling despite more drivers admitting to this illegal and dangerous habit.
Sharp isn't how most of us feel when we're greeted by dark mornings and evenings in the winter, but it's Brake's fifth Pledge component and is of utmost importance during the annual wind-down when work may slacken off. Drivers who feel drowsy are advised to take a break and down a caffeine drink. To maintain the festive spirit, go for gingerbread sprinkles or syrup.
Sustainable is something we all want the environment and our health to be. The prospect of driving less and walking or cycling more may not be very appealing when the weather outside is none too clever, but incorporating more healthy activity in our New Year routines has the added benefit of working off the customary indulgence in stollen.
Let's all aim to keep the six elements of Brake's Pledge in mind for life, not just for Christmas - although November's Road Safety Week is a good time to start.
Lee Wolstenholme is a director of Vehicle Consulting