Winter Weather Driving: Tips for Truckers
Driving a truck is challenging no matter what, but winter weather can challenge even the most experienced truckers.
Old Man Winter snuck up on us particularly early this year with crippling storms hitting across the Northern Plains in early October. We hope that isn’t a predictor of what we can expect this winter! Ice and snow even in small amounts and frigid temperatures even on the sunniest of days can be very dangerous. Don’t become a casualty of nasty winter weather.
Keep these tips in mind this season so Old Man Winter doesn’t get the best of you:
- Dress appropriately. Wear loose layers of clothing and make sure your coat can support sudden temperature swings. Use proper footwear with non-slip soles and good tread.
- Take a winter driving kit. Have a Go Bag ready to take with you that includes things like blankets, extra gloves, rain gear, non-perishable food, water, flashlight, snow and ice scrapers and brushes, jumper cables, extra wiper fluid, a bag of salt or sand.
- Expect wet and icy conditions any time you’re outside the cab:
- Always use the three-point rule when entering or exiting the tractor.
- Watch for ice on ramps, around docks and on stairs/ladders on the yard.
- Stay clean, be seen. Always complete your pre-trip inspection and check again each time you stop to make sure all your lights and reflective surfaces stay clean and visible.Top off your tanks. This will aid with traction. If you end up stranded, stay in your truck. Get out only to make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow and run your engine for no more than 15 minutes each hour.
- Buckle up! Always wear your seatbelt.
- Slow down. Going slower gives you more control and time to react.
- Stay steady. Don’t accelerate or break suddenly. This reduces your chances of spinning out of control.
- Beware of bridges. They freeze first.
- Watch out for black ice. Black ice is difficult to spot and often just looks like the road is wet. Pay attention to tire spray on the vehicle ahead of you — it will stop if there is black ice — and use extra caution when you see ice on your antennas, mirrors or the corners of your windshield.
- Grip the steering wheel firmly. This will help you maintain control. Keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
- Keep a safe distance. Give yourself a buffer and more than enough space to allow you to stop or safely maneuver out of harm’s way.
- Don’t follow tail lights. In icy and low visibility situations, if you can see tail lights, you’re probably following too closely. If the vehicle you’re following makes an error, you don’t want to repeat it.
- Use your own good judgement to keep yourself and others on the road safe at all times.
This winter, always be prepared, use extra caution, and pull over when in doubt!
For more safe driving tips, visit transforce.com/blog.