Winter Driving Safety Tips For Truck Drivers
Good maneuvering and control skills are essential in poor weather. The job of a trucker becomes increasingly challenging when handling a tractor trailer and load in foul winter weather. Knowledge and implementation of proper, preventative safety skills for driving in poor conditions, can truly separate the professional truck drivers from the rest of the pack.
- Be aware of weather forecasts prior to your trip. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, DON’T – always use good, solid judgement.
- Carry a Winter Driving Kit including: a flashlight, gloves, extra clothing layers, sand or salt, a blanket, jumper cables, a First Aid kit, an ice scraper, a cell phone and charger, food, and water.
Check Your Equipment. A Pre-Trip is a Must!
- Clean snow and ice from your vehicle, especially the mirrors, windows, and lights.
- Be sure your wipers, heater and defrosters are working properly.
- Make sure you have enough fuel.
- Make sure the weight of your load is evenly distributed.
Driving in Bad Weather, Especially in Snow and On Ice, is Risky Due to:
- More “stop time” required. Make sure you increase following distance to a safe space and, when possible, leave room between your vehicle and objects/vehicles beside you.
- Poor visibility. If you do need to get off the road due to poor driving conditions, like blinding snow, remember not to stop on the shoulder of the road. In low visibility situations, other drivers might mistake your vehicle for being on the road.
- Poor traction. Speed decreases your traction. Be sure to slow down – the slower you drive, the more time you have to react.
- Increased unpredictability of other drivers on the road.
- Remember: The legal speed limit is often too fast for snow/ice covered roads. Brake and accelerate slowly; never slam on your brakes, pump them! Do not use your Jake Brake.
Watch Out for Trouble Areas
- Bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze. Be cautious!
- Exit ramps can have sharp turns. Take them very slowly.
- Intersections: give yourself plenty of time to brake for stop signs and red lights.
- Stay away from the tire tracks of other vehicles. Packed snow is more likely to cause your wheels to spin.
Black Ice Clues
- When spray from tires of vehicles ahead suddenly stops, that indicates an ice patch.
- When the road only looks wet but signs and trees have ice or frost on them, the “wet road” is mostly likely black ice.
- If you find yourself driving on ice, don’t panic. Steer in the direction you want to go and slowly press on the brake. Do not slam on them.
By checking your surroundings, you will be able to tell what is and isn’t safe. You can also take into consideration your own actions and how they can react to your surroundings.