Article 12 December 2022

Taking care on the roads this Winter

If you drive at Mitie, it is your responsibility to ensure you are suitably prepared for severe weather. With the severe weather over the weekend and forecast over the next few days, we’ve put together this helpful reminder for everything you need to do to keep you safe on the roads this Winter.

Always remember, if you are concerned about your safety, bring the matter to the attention of your manager. There are however, things you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of other road users.

There are four key areas to consider:

•            Check your vehicle

•            Monitor the weather forecast

•            Plan for hazardous conditions

•            Drive to the weather conditions

Check your vehicle

Vehicle checks are essential throughout the year, however, during the winter months we should pay particular attention to the following

  • Tyres: Worn tyres reduce grip by 30-50%. The legal limit for your tread depth is 1.6mm, however as soon as your tread is down to 2mm – contact your lease provider and arrange renewal. Also remember to check the tread across the full width of your tyre!
  • Fluid levels: All levels should be checked regularly. This includes engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, anti-freeze, windscreen wash and AdBlue (as appropriate to your vehicle). Safety note – NEVER check anti-freeze when the engine is hot.
  • Windows, windscreens, wipers and mirrors: Those items should be clean and free from snow and ice to ensure good visibility. Check that wipers are working correctly so you can maximise your visibility in poor conditions. Do not attempt to move your vehicle until all windows are clear and de-misted.
  • Vehicle body: Prior to commencing your journey, always remove snow from your vehicle. In addition, lights and registration plates must also be clear.
  • Fuel/Charge: Driving in wintry conditions will use more fuel/charge. Always ensure you have sufficient to complete your journey – through the winter months it is good practice to keep your charge above 25%, or your fuel above ¼ of a tank.

Monitor the weather forecast

It is important that you check the weather forecast for warnings that may impact your journey. This information will allow you to make the right operational decisions, plan around the severe weather and pre-warn customers of potential delays.

  • Visit the Met Office ( for up to date information in your region.
  • Remember to inform your manager and customers if your journey may be affected.
  • Plan your route, stick to the motorways, dual-carriageways and main roads; and schedule regular rest breaks (at least every 2 hours).

Plan for hazardous conditions

Below are the essentials of winter driving:

  • De-icer and ice scraper: It is a legal requirement to ensure that all windows are clear of snow and ice before starting any journey.
  • Warm clothing: Ensure that you have warm clothing, i.e. coat, hat, gloves and a blanket. Ensure you have your hi-vis too!
  • Mobile phone: Ensure you carry an in-vehicle charger and remember to keep your phone charged at all times. Your phone will be essential, should you need to call for assistance.
  • Food and drink: Always carry food and drink in case you end up stranded for a lengthy period of time.
  • Medication: If you have a health condition that requires regular medication, ensure you carry sufficient supplies.
  • Other items: You may also choose to carry a torch, snow socks, a shovel and a bag of salt/sand which may help if you get stuck!

Hints and tips driving in snow and ice:

  • Slow down: One of the most important things to do when driving in snow or icy conditions is to slow down. Braking distances can be up to ten times longer!
  • Following distance: Braking distance has increased; therefore we also need to increase our following distance. Ask yourself, can you stop if the vehicle if-front comes to a stop?
  • Drive smoothly: Harsh braking, acceleration and cornering can result in loss of control. Take your time and drive smoothly.
  • Making stops in snow and ice: Before stepping out of your vehicle, be aware that the surface may be slippery. Take a few seconds to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and if you have passengers, remind them to disembark safety.

As well as applying the hints and tips for snow and ice, in heavy rain you should:

  • Visibility: Heavy rain will reduce your visibility and double your stopping distance. Keep well back from the vehicle in-front.
  • Aquaplaning: In heavy rain there is the risk of aquaplaning, this is where your tyres are not gripping the road and the steering may feel unresponsive. Do not panic – ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually. Reduce your speed until conditions improve.
  • Apply defensive driving techniques: Always be prepared for the unexpected, try to anticipate what other drivers, riders and pedestrians might do – and plan accordingly.
  • Lights: You must use headlights when visibility is reduced. Fog lights must be used when visibility is one hundred meters or less. Remember to switch fog lights off when conditions improve.
  • Remember to maintain a safe following distance, drive smoothly and drive defensively.

 In windy conditions, you should:

  • High-sided vehicles: Ensure you slow down as high sided vehicles are vulnerable to strong gusts of wind.
  • Bridges: Be particularly cautious when driving on bridges or viaducts, the effect of the wind can be even greater.
  • Doors: Keep a tight hold of your door, when entering or exiting your vehicle.

 In flooded areas, you should:

  • Depth: Assess the depth of the water before attempting to drive through. Avoid driving through the water if you believe that its more than 10cm (4 inches) deep.
  • Moving water: Flowing water can easily move a vehicle; do not drive through flowing water unless you know it is very shallow. Crossing water: If you deem the water safe to cross, wait for vehicle ahead to clear the flood before you start to cross. Aim for the middle of the road (usually the shallowest part) and keep your speed around 5-6 mph (1st gear) until you clear the water.
  • Brake test: Once clear of the water, remember to check you brakes – gently apply them at low speed to remove water and dry the pads.