BRITISH COLUMBIA – Businesses either adjust to circumstances or perish, and those that can anticipate and prepare for the inevitable are more likely to succeed.

One area where BC businesses could improve is to plan for winter because November, December, and January typically prove to be the most dangerous driving months. Nearly 28 per cent of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time loss occur then.

Conditions such as colder temperatures, rain, snow, fog, black ice, reduced visibility and fewer daylight hours play a part. If your business depends on your employees driving for work during winter, start your winter driving preparations now. Winter is just around the corner and it takes time to get ready since preparation involves more than installing winter tires.

Understand your responsibilities

Winter driving preparedness isn’t just a practicality, it’s also a legal responsibility. Employers and supervisors are legally responsible for employees when they are driving for work. This is regardless of the frequency employees drive or whether they drive a company-owned vehicle or their own personal one.

Employers and supervisors must have driving safety policies and practices in place, ensure their employees are aware of the hazards they may be exposed to in winter driving conditions and provide their employees with the information, instruction, training, equipment and supervision necessary for the driving they are assigned.

Assess employees and their vehicles

Every workplace should develop and implement an Inclement Weather Policy to clearly communicate expectations about staff driving for work. That policy should cause your employees to reflexively consider whether driving is absolutely necessary.

Could they eliminate their exposure to the hazards of winter driving by conducting business by email, telephone and video conferencing or using public transportation?

But, if driving is necessary, ensure any employee driving for work plans their route and knows to adjust their driving to winter conditions by slowing down and increasing their following distance. Also, check whether their vehicle is prepared for winter road and weather conditions by having winter tires and an emergency kit.

Use ShiftintoWinter.ca

ShiftintoWinter.ca offers free information and resources to help employers and employees not only comply with legal responsibilities, but more importantly reduce the risks employees face when they drive during winter.

There is an employer tool kit, tip sheets and tailgate meeting guides, and an online course designed specifically for employers and supervisors. These practical resources range from advice on how to choose winter tires to how to change driving behaviour for the conditions to how to prepare for longer trips and what to “know before you go.”

Road safety is smart business. Use these free resources to help reduce the risk of a serious crash, which in turn can enhance employee morale and retention, lower organizational costs, and improve business performance.

In the words of business management guru Eliyahu Goldratt, “Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.”

Get ready for winter driving now by downloading your free driving safety toolkit.