AA DriveTech – a specialist division of the AA that provides development courses for qualified occupational drivers – has found that many drivers who use 4x4 vehicles for work have little or no formal training.
Instead, many drivers of modern 4x4 vehicles rely on technology to see them safely through dangerous road conditions. AA DriveTech believes that the current cold snap will highlight this lack of official coaching.
"Feedback from our 4x4 training department suggests that many drivers believe that, when the temperature drops below freezing, these vehicles come into their own and they can drive as normal," says Fleet Director Simon Stammers. "There is no question that the latest 4x4s have exceptional grip and traction in even the most challenging off-road conditions but this ability will always compromise on-road performance to some degree."
Stammers added: "Our main concern is that many 4x4 vehicles used for work are carrying quite high payloads and often have a higher than normal centre of gravity as a result, which could affect stability in an avoidance manoeuvre."
Drivers must also be aware that vehicles fitted with specialist off-road tyres can expect a compromise on grip levels when driving on road. "An inexperienced driver may not appreciate the consequences of cornering or braking harshly until it's too late," said Stammers.
AA DriveTech is urging employers that use 4x4 vehicles in the workplace to provide their employees with sufficient training.