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Car/Limo Rentals

 January 26, 2007
National Car Rental Offers Winter Driving Advice To UK Businesses

 National Car Rental is urging businesses to take some simple steps to prepare employees for the hazards of driving in winter as the Corporate Manslaughter Bill moves closer to becoming UK law this year. National believes these measures should form part of a wider set of procedures that businesses need to put in place to comply with the proposed 'duty of care' legislation.

According to the Department for Transport, car related fatalities rise dramatically at this time of year when the dark nights draw in. With three million company car drivers and a further five million drivers using their own vehicles for work, it is estimated by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) that 250 people are seriously injured every week as a result of work related car accidents.

With this in mind, National Car Rental has compiled some tips for drivers and employers for safe driving this winter.

Drivers

- Allow plenty of time for journeys
- Before starting the engine and moving off, make sure your eyes have become accustomed to the dark
- Make sure all the windows are properly de-iced and de-misted before you set out
- Remember your sunglasses to avoid glare from the low winter sun
- Twilight is a particularly hazardous time for driving, so take extra care
- Watch out for fog and use fog lights, but remember to switch them off again when they are no longer needed
- Rain and spray from other vehicles make it difficult to see and be seen so slow down in heavy downpours
- Allow for a greater braking distance in wet conditions
- Watch your speed and remember that cyclists and pedestrians will be less visible
- Be prepared to cancel a journey. Listen out for weather warnings and act appropriately
- Don't be afraid to turn back -- if things start to look dicey, a trip can most likely be postponed
- Be aware of the danger of getting stranded - especially if you are heading somewhere remote. Take warm clothing and consider stopping at a hotel for the night rather than pressing on
- If you use your own vehicle for work related journeys, consider hiring a car instead. This will ensure the car is fully maintained, safe, reliable and covered by 24 hour roadside assistance
- Ensure the windscreen washer is topped up
- Always keep a bottle of water and food, such as chocolate just in case you breakdown
- Think about your health when driving this winter - exposure to at least 20 minutes of natural light a day will help to boost energy levels
- Increase serotonin rich foods including fish, turkey, eggs and cheese to replace serotonin usually produced by daylight

Employers

- Provide on-road training, alongside theoretical training, on driving in bad weather. Include driver's judgments of the risks of driving in bad weather as part of your regular risk assessments
- Ensure there is basic safety equipment in the car for emergencies: warning triangles, travel blankets, mobile phones, torches, first aid kits, maps, de-icer and scrapers are all useful for winter driving. Rental cars come equipped with warning triangles and mobile phones can be hired as extra, in addition some of these items will be available for purchase from selected locations
- Encourage employees to hire a car or van rather than use their own
- Remind drivers of the basic principles such as slow down, keep a safe distance, be aware of motorbikes or cyclists.' as often as possible - through posters, leaflets and briefings
- Recommend alternatives to driving, whether public transport or even video conferencing

Lorraine Farnon, Divisional Vice President and UK Sales Director said: "Some of these tips may seem obvious but the statistics speak for themselves. More people are killed, or seriously injured, driving during the winter months. In addition, journeys can take longer, meaning drivers are more prone to tiredness, a vicious circle is created with worn-out and harassed drivers going faster in order to make up lost time. This cycle can be easily broken by following these simple guidelines and by not placing undue demands on drivers."