Most of Yorkshire is covered in snow again. Although, where I am nothing like Scotland or America. The usual advice is being provided regarding not driving unless you have to. But what does this actually mean in the real world of mortgages and bills?
If you're the type of employee who cries out with glee every time it snows and awards yourself a snow day then you don't need to read on. For the rest of us, do we phone in, try to get to work, get to work and then think all day about the risk of getting stuck there and clock watch until going home time? What about those of us driving the miles on the open road...what a nightmare. If The Great Bard was around in 2015 he would be asking, "To drive or not to drive?" (Sorry) However, I am in the lucky position of being my own boss. So the decision for me is easy and I am working from home today. My wife on the other hand, went to work. She waited for the text message to inform her school was closed but it never arrived. Off to work she went after I had cleared her car.
This got me thinking. As individuals deciding whether or not to drive to work, what do we base our decision upon? If we are a nervous driver we may decide to stay at home or use public transport if that’s an option. Perhaps a good idea and maybe worth investing in some more driver training. No shame in this because everyone one of us has room to develop and grow as a driver. What if we class ourselves as excellent drivers able to cope with a bit of snow, even if others can't and get in our way? Perhaps best stay at home as well or find alternative transport. For everyone else, its decision time based upon our own experiences, beliefs, values, thoughts, feelings, driving experience, training, what others have told us and whatever else we use to inform our decision making process. But what if our decision making is flawed? Have we driven on snow before? If we have, how did we get on....easy, straight forward, no worries or a bit of sliding and buttock clenching as the car goes quiet and starts to slide and there's nothing we can do as we wait for the forces of physics to decide what happens next? OK, the latter has never happened to me before, but if it did? I can still remember the day over 20 years ago when I set off to go to work for a training day. Not daring to phone in, not able to park in the main staff car park and having to find alternative parking in a nearby supermarket. Access to the car park sloping down and to the right. Driving as slowly as I could, really smooth use of the steering, so smooth I glided into the wall, front nearside followed moments later by the whole of the near side! All in glorious HD slow motion. I felt I could have got out of my car and pushed it away from the wall. Up until that point, I had never doubted my driving ability. For me there had been no option but to go to work. Wrong! Because half an hour later we were all sent home.
The commitment to getting to work is laudable, but not at the risk of having an accident, even a minor bump. Worst case scenario, killing another person because of the perceived need and for some, desperation, to get to work. I can't provide and easy, one size solution fits all answer. However, I can ask you to reflect and think about risk and consider what risks are worth taking v the possible consequences which could follow. Every time we get behind the wheel it’s not just driving, it’s literally 'safe driving for life' (sorry DVLA I couldn't resist, especially after my last standards check grade).
Perhaps we need to look at the problem from another angle, that of the employer. Now things get interesting. It may be that every employer expects their staff to get to work no matter what. However, enlightened companies and organisations will know that it is not as simple. Arguments I hear over less than 5 employees and staff only commute to their place of work. However, what are the benefits of having a clear road safety/driving for work policy which everyone understands and managers enforce? The answer is really simple, less personal injury, less damage to property, less time off work, lower insurance, less legal costs, less compensation claims and so on. Of course, the reality is you may never have to deal with any incidents involving your staff commuting or diving for work. Worth taking the risk? I’ll leave that one up to you. What do you need to include in such a policy? If you’re not sure ask someone who knows.