It’s time for all courier van drivers to deal with the cold weather by performing some simple maintenance and health checks on your vehicles. From getting the right courier van insurance to driving safely, here’s how to keep your van on the road this winter.
No one likes breaking down, but van drivers more than others feel the pain when their vehicle falls prey to the effects of the UK’s famous winter weather.
While being a courier van driver admittedly comes with regular challenges, regardless of the weather, winter can present a number of additional concerns that could potentially stop your van, and business, dead in its tracks.
Keeping your courier van on the road this winter will take a little bit of luck as well as an awareness of the various checks and considerations you should make to help stop your van from breaking down. And of course, you’ll need to ensure that you have full courier van insurance for any incidents or accidents in your vehicle, as well as considering courier breakdown cover.
Here’s our list of things all courier van drivers should keep an eye on as they navigate the UK’s cold roads this year.
Check your battery
Don’t let your electronics drain your battery power
Winter requires you to use your battery much more than you would normally in warmer weather. Whether it’s the heater, wipers or your lights, you could risk draining your battery if you’re not careful. To avoid this, try to switch off all your lights, wipers and heating before you turn the engine off at the end of each journey.
Also, try to avoid overusing your heater. We understand this is perhaps the hardest thing to do on this list, but using your jacket or adding some layers to your outfit rather than blasting your heater on full power could save your battery from packing in.
Finally, if you notice any issue with your battery, such as difficulty starting in the mornings, it’s well worth visiting a garage to get it checked over. Request the mechanic to check your charging system and the drain on your battery too, because it will also give you a better picture of your van’s overall health.
Weatherproof your van
Rain, snow, wind and fog could all impact your driving this winter
You can’t change the weather, but you can certainly prepare for it. When it rains, a number of things might happen that could put you or your vehicle at risk.
Flooded areas, for instance, could present a danger to your van, especially if roads are busy with other vehicles and you’re forced to crawl through long waterlogged routes with large potholes. You can avoid this by planning your route carefully before you set off and paying close attention to weather forecasts.
It’s also important to check that your windscreen wipers are working properly so that you can still see clearly during a downpour. Also make sure that you have a charged mobile phone and a rainproof jacket in case you break down and need to call an engineer.
Snow can be equally problematic as it can reduce the stopping time of your vehicle and reduce its ability to handle the roads during sharp turns. It goes without saying that you should be extra cautious when driving in snowy conditions – taking additional time to make deliveries might be expected when traffic is generally slow moving, and some locations are more difficult to access.
Prepare for the worst
Keep the necessary items with you at all times
Despite all your precautions, you could still break down this winter. If this happens, you’ll need a few essentials to get you back up and running and keep you warm and safe while you wait for assistance to arrive.
Keeping a selection of warm clothes in your van for you and your passengers is a must because you may well forget to wear additional layers if you’re making a quick trip, so having something spare in the van is important during the winter months.
You’ll also need some basic tools, such as a torch, a first aid kit, an ice scraper and de-icer spray, as well as a portable phone charger (and of course your phone) and some suitable footwear.
Finally, you never know how long you’ll actually have to wait for a recovery vehicle to come and rescue you, especially in adverse weather conditions, so keep a sufficient amount of water and food in the van with you at all times. A great idea is to pack small protein bars or breakfast bars in the glove compartment for a quick fix.
For the extra cautious among you, or if you’re going on a long journey, it can’t hurt to have a shovel and a sleeping bag in the back of your van – just in case!
Driving conditions during winter make driving safely more important than ever
Driving safely is also one of the most important ways to keep your van on the road this winter. This starts with driving slowly and giving yourself enough time to stop, should you encounter any obstacles on the road. It’s no secret that braking suddenly or even accelerating rapidly can lead to a loss of control if you’re driving on slippery or icy surfaces.
This may even lead to the damage of items or goods in your van – so make sure you have courier van insurance with good in transit cover too.
Also, watch out for flooding when it rains and give yourself enough space between your vehicle and other drivers because a lack of visibility can often lead to delayed reactions and could cause a collision. Switching on your vehicle’s fog lights when necessary will also help to increase your visibility.
Review your courier van insurance
Are you covered in the event that your courier van breaks down?
You may well have courier van insurance already, but giving your policy a review during winter is important. There are many variations in terms of the kind of cover you have and it’s even more important during cold weather that you have the means to get yourself back on the road or to a nearby destination while you wait for your vehicle to be fully recovered.
If you’re taking long trips across the country, for instance or transporting goods between multiple locations or warehouses, you may want courier breakdown cover that will recover your vehicle to another location in the UK so that you can complete your delivery. ChoiceQuote provides great value breakdown cover in partnership with the AA, specially for courier drivers, with prices starting from just £50 per year.
Essentially, the most important thing is to make sure you have the right precautions in place for your specific courier operations so that you can avoid spending longer than you have to off the road if you do unfortunately break down.