Winter driving for any trucker is a time to follow safety guidelines for general driving skills. It’s important to remember the different terrains and roads during winter. Here is a list of five tips for driving safely during the winter season.
1. Inspecting Your Truck
Inspecting your truck during the winter season includes checking your tire’s chains as well as your truck’s heater, air compression, wiper fluid, electrical system, battery, CB radio, and emergency supplies, amongst other things. Some of the more common things to be on the lookout for are if your truck’s tires have low air pressure, if your headlights and tail lights are working, and most importantly, if your steps are clear of severe ice.
Also, be aware of any rusted or broken parts on your truck. The last thing you want to deal with while driving on an icy road is a faulty part of your truck coming off or breaking entirely. Finally, make sure you have a full tank is also a good idea for your game plan moving forward. You’d rather be safe than sorry down the road!
2. Conducting a Pre-Trip Inspection
It’s likely a widespread occurrence for all of us that we might have forgotten to bring along an extra phone charger or batteries for our other electronics. That’s where the importance of a pre-trip inspection comes into play. In addition, ensuring you have extra food, water, winter clothes, insulated socks, lined gloves or mitts, lined waterproof winter boots, propane heater and lighter, and other necessities for the long haul is essential.
Also, make sure you have additional emergency kits and first aid kits. More importantly, you will likely need to bring a hammer and putty knife with you. Why? Well, you may need to get underneath your truck if your air tanks freeze over. These two items can help break the ice over the air tanks.
3. Slowing Down and Keeping Your Distance
Most drivers know that with heavy snow comes icy roads, which translates to driving slower on any highway while also being hyper-aware of your surroundings at all times. Unfortunately, other vehicles may not be in the mindset of being careful around your truck while in motion. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep extra space from the car in front of you when driving on ice. Driving with a deep awareness can save you a lot of potential problems on the road.
Probably the most shocking information (if you’re a new truck driver) is the advice that you shouldn’t engage the jake brake on icy roads. But, more importantly, you shouldn’t break when your entire freight and truck are not straightened out. The reason for not breaking when you’re not entirely straightened out is because the trailer can slide and spin out of your control. You should never forget that the trailer connected in the back does not automatically slow down when you slow down your truck, which is especially true when the trailer is empty.
4. Checking the Weather and Your Surroundings Frequently
It should go without saying that checking the weather via a phone app or even listening to common radio channels for truckers is also another thing to consider while driving in the winter season. In a recent study, over 500,000 trucking accidents happen each year in the United States. So it’s safe to bet that some trucking accidents occur during winter. So be mindful when there is a storm warning or a severe fog notification.
But, more importantly, being aware of your surroundings for any black ice or other obstruction on the road can go a long way in avoiding otherwise dangerous situations. Black ice is one of the most challenging and lethal elements for truck drivers on the road during the winter months. It can appear out of nowhere. Unfortunately, identifying black ice can be tricky. Essentially, if the road ahead of you looks wet but doesn’t emit much spray, you’ve likely encountered black ice. During these types of conditions, the best advice to consider is to slow down in speed, be aware of other vehicles on the road, and get ready for slippery roads ahead.
5. Stopping Periodically In Bad Weather
While driving out in nasty weather, it’s better to be late to your scheduled destination rather than never making it at all due to an avoidable trucking accident. Also, if you park for the day or night, you may want to carry a bag or two of kitty litter. You should bring kitty litter with you because your wheels may become frozen over and form large ice coverings during heavy snow. Throwing large amounts of kitty litter can help eliminate any freezing-over of your truck’s tires.
Also, if possible, do not stop on the road’s shoulder, especially if there is low visibility. The reality of truck driving during the winter season is that snow can become ‘blinding.’ ‘Blinding snow,’ as it is also known, is a significant problem. For any other vehicle driving through the extreme weather, they may mistake your current position for being on the road. As a result, the oncoming car may serve off the road and slam into the back of your rig. So if possible, find a truck stop to play it safe.
What did you think of our list of winter driving safety guidelines? At Diamond Freight Systems Inc., we always make it a point to remind our drivers of the importance of driving over icy roads during the peak of the winter season. Either way, it would be a good idea to keep in mind that this is a comprehensive list.
Whether it’s reassessing your freight operations or finding a reliable transportation company for your cargo needs, we here at Diamond Freight Systems Inc. are prepared to fulfill your orders in a safe and timely manner. Feel free to reach out to us at our Contact Us page. We’re always prepared to provide you with the top-quality freight consolidation you deserve every time!