A friend of mine is a keen triathlete – not me you understand, it’s all far too strenuous as far as I’m concerned – but I do occasionally go along and watch and offer words of encouragement.
As long as there’s the promise of a beer later on, of course…
Being a triathlete requires all the kit: wet suit for the open water swim, the proper tri kit underneath, lightweight bike. You get the picture. If there’s something that gives him a competitive advantage, it’s added to his kit pile.
A few weekends ago he took part in the HumanRace Open Water Swim Series down in leafy Surrey. Competitors had to swim 2.5 miles downstream from Hampton Court Palace to Kingston-upon-Thames.
I felt duty bound to attend to offer my support – especially as there is a rather pleasant pub hotel not far from the start which does excellent food. It was a beautiful morning, which helped, but I was astonished to see some swimmers taking the plunge into the Thames in nothing but trunks.
Now the whole triathlon thing seems bonkers to me anyway, but swimming the Thames in October, in virtually your bare skin, seemed to me to be on the wrong side of irresponsible.
Being correctly prepared is really important. It gives you the ability to perform at the maximum (at least that’s my friend’s excuse for the endless stream of new kit!).
And the same thing actually applies to fleets. Which is you really ought to have planned – or be planning – a switch to winter tyres for your fleet.
It’s all about having the right kit for the right event.
So why do I think it’s worth having winter tyres fitted? Consider this: on an icy road, a car fitted with standard tyres will take 11 metres further to stop. If you want an idea of how far that is, think three car lengths. That could be the difference between a potentially fatal accident. And stopping.
Winter tyres give you extra performance because they are made from a different compound that works much better below 7 degrees Celsius. And it doesn’t just have to be icy: on wet and treacherous roads, winter tyres provide extra grip, too.
Winter tyres are best fitted between October and March when you are likely to get most performance from them.
I’m now convinced that winter tyres should be part of any fleet management policy for winter. After all, equipping your drivers to perform better – and with more safety – is the aim of any business with duty of care responsibilities.
Otherwise you could end up like those swimmers in just their Speedos – wrong kit for the conditions. Unlike the pub which was equipped with some excellent beers, and I with a glass with which to drink them!
If you would like more information on winter tyres, visit www.tyresafe.org