The storm's upon us.
We're slogging through autumn, and accelerating into winter.
Gales are battering our windshields, cold's seeping into our cabs.
Yes, the Christmas hurricane looms. And for delivery drivers, this week will be like a storm-within-a-storm.
Because of this, DVSA has issued some advice to drivers: don't slip up on your daily walk-around checks.
What's all the hubbub?
Well, at this time last year we saw a hair-raising spike in on-road fatalities. In November 2016, 153 people died in traffic accidents; in December that figure rose to 171: huge jumps from previous months.
Not least among the potential causes was the 15% increase in the weight of goods transported on British roads. These extra seasonal loads, combined with poor weather and heavier traffic, create a scenario that's barely safe enough for man or beast.
When you throw a defective tire or a blown lightbulb into the mix - the situation quickly worsens.
These minor faults, and others like them, are easy to find and fix, but will land you hefty fines if they're discovered by an enforcement agent.
Indeed: most of the problems found during inspections, DVSA says, could be prevented by simple walk-around checks.
The Traffic Commisioner's Office released this statement on the importance of the checks being carried out in the runup to the festive period:
"The driver walkaround check is an absolutely critical part of every maintenance regime.
“Having a robust driver defect reporting system can prevent a potentially dangerous or unroadworthy vehicle from going out on to the road network."
DVSA has published a full catalogue of advice on its Moving On blog.
Is the whole defect procedure thing causing you grief? Want to get your 7 hours in? Check out our CPC Module 5: