As a taxi driver, you generally spend much more time on the road than the average road user, but more experience doesn’t mean that you’re not at risk from dangerous driving conditions. Being as prepared as possible can help to combat some of the more extreme weather that winter can throw our way. From strong winds to icy roads, there’s a lot to look out for at this time of year. So, read our guide below to make sure you’re fully prepared for what winter may bring.
Driving safely in winter – preparation
Whether you’re starting your shift in the early hours or working through the night, it is very likely you’ll encounter icy roads when temperatures are below freezing. Adapting your driving to the needs of the road and allowing more time for the overall journey will prepare you for the conditions ahead – keeping you safe and your passengers happy.
So, how exactly can you prepare for icy driving conditions?
• Winter tyres can dramatically improve stability on the roads, should temperatures drop too low. As they don’t harden in colder weather like normal tyres do, they provide sufficient grip in icy conditions.
• De-icing the car the night before a morning shift will prevent the need to scrape ice off windows, meaning you can start your shift without having to rush.
• Having an emergency car kit in the taxi means you’re prepared to act in emergency situations, should they arise. This should include a hi-vis jacket, warning triangle, phone charger, and some water and food, as a minimum.
Driving safely in the winter – on the road
Once you’re on the road, it’s important to know how to react to conditions in the best way possible. As you are responsible for yourself as well as your passengers, it becomes even more crucial to make sure you drive safely. Reducing your speed, braking much further in advance, and using the right lights for visibility purposes are all important to ensure your safety.. Using full beams when heavy snow arrives and fog lights when visibility is reduced to less than 100m will make sure you can see the road ahead, while keeping the right speed and distance will ensure you can slow down safely and in good time.
Driving safely in the winter – the passengers
As conditions in winter become harsher, fares may become more frequent due to passengers requiring lifts to places that they would normally travel to on foot. Keeping your taxi in optimum condition for your passengers will increase the likelihood of them staying safe once they get inside. Snow and rain can mean that the inside of your cabin can become wet and slippery, so keeping it clean and dry will ensure your passengers stay safe when entering and exiting the vehicle. Keeping a towel or rag close by so that you can dry the floor after every couple of fares will make sure no one slips on their way in or out.
Driving safely in the winter – maintenance
Safe winter driving involves taking care of your car to the best of your ability. Making sure your taxi is in top condition requires regular checks, especially in more extreme weather conditions. Cold and wet weather can take its toll on your car – so keeping an eye and an ear on your vehicle while driving will help you notice anything out of the ordinary. Keeping anti-freeze topped up, making sure you haven’t got any leaks, and listening to the sound of your engine are all common ways of maintaining a healthy vehicle come winter time. And if you see any warning signs on the dash, it’s better to be safe and take it to an expert.
Driving safely in winter is much easier when you stay prepared. Anticipating cold and wet weather means you can plan ahead and ensure that you, your car and your passengers stay safe at all times. So take our winter driving safety tips for trouble-free driving this winter.
If you find that you’re having car trouble during the winter, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right taxi insurance that will keep you on the road, even if you need a replacement vehicle when yours is in the garage. To ensure you’re fully covered, talk to one of our experts and they can guide you through our comprehensive taxi insurance policies.