Winter months are upon us and it is time to make sure you double down on making sure safety is your number one priority while traveling. When you have a deadline to make a delivery, it’s easy to rush and not pay enough attention to your surroundings In addition, winter brings along extra stress, cold temperatures, ice, and snow, all of which can make driving even more dangerous.
It takes a lot of skill as a truck driver to maneuver in winter weather conditions. Having the knowledge to implement preventative safety skills is what differentiates a professional driver from the rest. They know how to make good decisions, when it is not safe to drive, and when to take it slow. Here are some tips for winter driving that can be valuable to the professional truck driver.
- Slow down. Many accidents happen due to excessive speed. It may be legal to drive the speed limit, but when there are snow and ice covered roads, it is usually too fast. Take your time and slow down.
- Leave plenty of space. Make sure there is enough space between you and the vehicle in front of and beside you when possible.
- Do not travel as part of a pack. Many times traffic moves in packs on the highway. Try to find a way to move away from the pack safely, so you can travel alone with your goal being to make sure there is plenty of room around your truck.
- Never push beyond the limits of your equipment. Make sure you understand what your equipment can handle. It is one of the best ways to stay safe.
- Stay parked. Being nervous while driving in bad weather is normal. If you feel nervous, stay parked, call your dispatch, and reschedule your delivery appointment.
- Keep a bag of kitty litter in your truck. When your tires are warm, they can change the snow you parked on into ice. If you find yourself stuck, kitty litter under your tires can give you the extra traction needed to get going.
- Warm up the windshield. Turn your defroster on high for about one minute to get the glass warmed up prior to cleaning it with fluid.
- Check the tail lights. Check your tail lights and license plate when you make a stop and make sure they are clean. Something as simple as a tail wind or draft can cause them to be covered.
- Use good, solid judgment. If the weather gets so bad that you need to get off the road, try to find someplace to get off the road safely and wait to get back on the road until the conditions have improved.
- Do not pull off onto the shoulder of the road. Stopping on the side of the road in low visibility situations can be dangerous. Other drivers might mistake your reason for being on the shoulder, which could result in them slamming into the back of your truck.
- Make sure everything is ready to go. Check to make sure your defroster and heater are working properly. Also check the wipers, wiper motor, and lights. Top off the washer fluid, drain moisture from the air tanks, and make sure your brakes are adjusted. Clean all windows and mirrors before leaving.
- Keep fuel tanks full. Full tanks provide extra weight/traction for your drive tires. Having a full tank also reduces the amount of condensation that can form on the inside of your tank, this reduces the likelihood of accumulating ice in your fuel system. Lastly in the event you are stranded those full tanks could save your life by providing you with heat for several days.
It may seem like a hassle and time consuming to follow these tips for driving safely during the winter months, but they will help keep you and fellow travelers safe. . Direct Freight Services want to make sure you and your load are safe at all times. Check out the truck stop locations on our website to see if there is a stop on your route that will benefit you on your travels.