Make sure drivers know their car's limitations in winter, Arval says
23 November 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
Company car drivers may need to be warned about the limitations of their vehicles in winter, particularly SUVs, according to leasing company Arval.
The firm says some drivers mistakenly think the lightweight, two-wheel drive SUVs that are becoming more common in fleets have a greater degree of capability than a normal car on snow and ice.
Head of consulting, Shaun Sadlier said: "Some fleets - such as utility companies and the emergency services - operate proper 4x4s, often with specially trained drivers, for winter travel. They usually have guidelines around use and are managed in a very responsible fashion.
"However, while SUVs are great vehicles, there are many now operating on fleets that have no real advantage over a family hatchback in difficult weather - other than their ride height - yet drivers could be tempted to tackle conditions that they would never consider in a normal car.
"The fact is that SUVs of this kind can get stuck in poor weather as easily as any other vehicle, potentially creating a hazardous situation for the driver who needs to be rescued. There is very much a gap between the driver's perception of their vehicle and the reality."
According to Sadlier, fleets should be including guidance for adverse weather driving within their company car policy as well as sharing winter driving information with their drivers.
For many, Sadlier says this should include guidance not to head out in snowy or icy conditions, irrespective of the company vehicle they operate.
He said: "Driving in poor conditions is a very definite skill, and not something to be attempted without the right vehicle and the right training.
"While advertising might often show SUVs and 4x4s ploughing through all kinds of conditions, it is all too easy to discover the limits of the capabilities of driver and machine on a snowy trunk road on a winter evening.
"Our advice to fleets would be to ensure that drivers have a clear understanding of the kind of weather in which they are expected to drive, to know about the limitations of their particular vehicle and stay well within them; and to seek advice if they have any doubts."