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Minimising downtime: how to keep your fleet moving in extreme weather

As forecasters predict a bout of challenging weather as we enter December, business fleets will be among the hardest hit. To ensure vehicles and drivers are fit for the road, many are now turning to vehicle rental as a solution to keep fleets moving, avoiding service disruption and reputational damage in the process.

We only have to look back to 2018 to see how disruptive extreme weather can be. The now infamous ‘Beast from the East’ left many British Gas customers without heating or hot water for nearly five days in 2018[1] and the energy supplier warned further snow may force them to cancel home visits.

During peak periods like this, many businesses need the right vehicles, in the right place, at the right time. Vehicle rental is one flexible solution that facilitates this.

Unlike investment in depreciating assets that may not be used throughout the summer months, rental provides the ability to scale fleet capacity up or down depending on demand. This means firms only pay for vehicles when they’re in use, saving time and money.

Last year’s extreme weather cost the UK economy £1bn in just one day, with snow and ice affecting motorways and A roads across the nation[2]. These conditions risk causing reputational damage for businesses with many retailers such as Amazon now promising same day delivery and utility providers relying on engineers to keep customers on water and energy supply whatever the weather.

Therefore, having the right vehicles to navigate snow, ice and wet weather is critical – not only will this minimise business disruption, but it will also help keep road users safe. Even having one vehicle out of action can harm efficiency and risks damaging reputations and customer relationships if services cannot be fulfilled.

Partnering with a rental supplier ensures fleets can fulfil all requirements as vehicles tend to be newer, well maintained and less likely to incur downtime than older vehicles. Similarly, vehicles can be optimised or upgraded with specialist features depending on the season. Modifications for Chapter 8 vehicles such as chevrons, beacons and snow chains can be added at short notice to deal with the harshest conditions, ensuring customers are never cut off.

Rental can also ease the administrative burden and improve driver safety. Stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are included in rental contracts meaning vehicles are guaranteed to be legally compliant. All necessary safety measures such as Preventative Maintenance Inspection (PMI), MOT, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) can also be catered for.

This November, flood warnings were in place across almost 50 locations in England and many homes were cut off[3]. For utilities providers trying to reach customers in remote areas and difficult driving conditions, access and safety can be a big issue for businesses. By partnering with a rental provider, not only do vehicles offer greater protection against the elements and legal compliance, but drivers will always be equipped for the job. With rental providing opportunities to scale fleet size quickly depending on changeable conditions, cutting your fleet costs, can you afford to ignore the benefits?

Nexus Vehicle Rental is the UK’s leading tech-driven mobility provider. The company recently released its latest ‘Winter Safety’ Glovebox Guide, which offers tips for drivers during extreme weather. You can download a copy here.

[1] https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/925970/british-gas-boiler-homecare-customer-service-uk-snow-storm-emma-beast-from-the-east

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/03/freezing-weather-storm-emma-cost-uk-economy-1-billion-pounds-a-day

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50365468

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