During extreme winter conditions, even truckers with years of experience can find it difficult to be on snowy roads. Bad visibility and reduced traction make winter driving even harder, and more dangerous. However, there are preventive safety tips that you can follow when driving this winter. Here are some winter weather driving tips for truckers that can help keep you safe on the road.
1. Inspect Your Vehicle It’s very important to get your truck prepared for winter driving conditions. Don’t be in a hurry to hit the road. Make sure you perform a pre-trip inspection. Check the tire pressure, engine oil, and antifreeze levels before you start any trip. In addition, start the engine and allow it to run until the temperature is high enough to operate. Make sure your windows and mirrors are free of frost or ice before you leave. If necessary, a mechanic can also inspect your vehicle to ensure it is capable of working in tough conditions.
2. Reduce Your Speed Limit Accidents are usually caused by excessive speed. On an icy road, even driving at the listed speed limit could be too fast. Remember that speed kills, so slow down. Driving slower will give you more time to react and stop in case anything happens on the road.
3. Give Yourself Some Extra Space According to Westsom, the stopping distance on an icy road is almost 10 times that of a normal and dry road. So, it’s essential to leave extra space between your truck and the vehicle in front of you.
This allows you to act quickly and move out of harm’s way in case a car stops short or cuts you off. Also, remember not to park close to a building overhang – the snow falling from the building can fall on your trailer and damage your roof. Not doing so could lead to an accident
4. Stay Smooth Try not to suddenly step on your brakes, accelerate or swerve. If you are required to slow down suddenly on a slippery road, step lightly on your brakes. This will help you maintain traction on slippery roads.
5. Watch Out for Tire Spray This is a very important winter driving tip. Always observe the water coming off the tires of vehicles around. It’s a perfect way to assess the road condition. More water means wet roads, but less could mean the road is freezing and you might need to exercise more caution.
6. Visibility Is Very Important During bad weather, your visibility will be reduced. You should always remember to put on your truck’s headlights. Keep your tractor and trailer light clean at all times. They are helpful in times of poor visibility. Check them from time to time as they can accumulate snow. Remember, visibility is the most important safety tip in poor weather conditions.
7. When in Doubt, Pull Over There are times when the weather conditions are so severe you shouldn’t be driving. Your safety is much more important than your job. Find somewhere safe to park and wait until the conditions get better before you to continue driving.
8. Stay Warm Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your truck. Make sure you bring an extra pair of warm clothes in case you have to sleep in your truck.
9. Bobtailing Driving Bobtailing, or driving without a trailer, is dangerous even under the best of conditions. But in the winter it can be even more challenging due to bad traction, poor visibility, and all other unforeseen circumstances on the road. Some other hazards include:
- Less control over the brakes
- You can’t use engine retarders
- Your truck clearance may be higher
To avoid accidents caused by bobtailing, implement these safety procedures
- Reduce your driving speed
- Apply less pressure on the brakes and avoid applying brakes suddenly.
- Recheck your vehicle clearance
- Allow a safe distance between your trucks and other trucks to allow enough time to apply brakes.
- Exercise caution around other bobtailing truckers on the road
Due to bad road conditions, accidents are more likely to happen during the winter season. If you don’t have the right insurance, an accident could put a major dent in your finances. That’s why it’s important to have Commercial Truck insurance and Bobtail insurance. These policies will protect you and your truck in case of unfortunate accidents. Remember, keeping yourself and your truck safe during the winter is attainable if you follow these winter driving tips. Stay sharp and stay safe.