Driving an 18-wheeler across the country can be exceptionally difficult during the winter months. Major snow and ice storms can be very dangerous for truck drivers to venture into to deliver their loads from place to place. It’s important for truckers to alter their driving to be extra cautious during dangerous conditions. Good maneuverability skills can save your life when sliding down an icy hill or off of the road.
There are many risks involved when driving in bad weather and knowing conditions are unsafe makes all drivers on edge and more cautious. Some of these risks include reduced visibility, icy roads, snow drifts, more ‘stop time’ and the unpredictability of other drivers. Truckers must be smart and know when they can push through to keep driving or when the conditions are too bad and they must take a break. Drivers who choose to be on the road during bad weather are not only putting their own lives in danger but other drivers as well. It’s important that you have the correct equipment in your vehicle if you’re driving in difficult conditions. You might want to check out blackboxmycar and get a dash cam installed, for example.
Separate yourself from the rest of the pack by considering yourself a professional. Professionals exercise preventative safety skills to protect themselves and others at all times while on the road. Refresh your memory of these 10 basic safety tips to be extra safe this winter.
10 Winter Safety Reminders for Truckers
Always be prepared for winter weather and any challenges that it may bring. Make sure to have an emergency kit in case you get stuck or stranded in freezing temperatures. Blankets, extra warm clothing and coats, a flashlight, healthy and energizing food, water, windshield washer fluid, ice scraper, jumper cables, traction mats and at least a half a tank of gas at all times. If you do happen to get stranded, it’s always best to stay in your truck until help arrives. Always have a plan on what to do if you run into this type of problem while driving through a winter storm.
Keep a safe distance behind other drivers
It’s important not to drive too close behind other drivers all the time, but especially in winter weather conditions. If the person in front of you comes to a fast stop, you may rear end them if you are following too closely behind. It’s often difficult to stop quickly when driving on snow and ice (slippery conditions), but keeping a safe distance in between you and other drivers helps to prevent accidents in snowy weather.
Make sure your trailer lights are visible
To ensure that other drivers are not tailgating you, make sure your trailer lights are not covered with snow or ice, decreasing visibility of you to other drivers. Always check your taillights before leaving a rest stop and keep tools handy for when you may have to dust them off. Not only is it helpful for other drivers to see your back lights but it’s the law as well. You can get pulled over and sighted if your rear lights are not visible.
Beware of ice on bridges
Bridges always ice faster than the normal roadways because the freezing air surrounds the surface from above and below. Bridges have no way to trap heat so ice forms extremely fast. Roads only loose heat from the top surface and will not ice as fast as open bridges. Drivers should be extra cautious when crossing a bridge in winter weather conditions. Even if it’s a sunny day and the roadways just look wet, be cautious of black ice at all times.
Drive slower than usual
Altering your normal driving speed during winter conditions is always a good idea. Driving at a slower speed will give you more time to react if something occurs. For example, if you were to start sliding or hit a snow drift, you’ll be able to maneuver your truck better the slower you are going.
Obey all road rules
Road rules and speed limits are important at all times, especially when driving conditions become more dangers. Speed limits are set because those rates were tested and determined safe for drivers. Other road rules such as using your blinkers and passing are important in blizzard conditions as well.
Don’t stop on the shoulder of the road
Especially when visibility is low, never stop on the shoulder of the highway. Other drivers cannot see you or may mistake you for a moving vehicle and can easily run into you. It’s best during the winter months to pull into a designated rest stop or get off at an exit if possible to keep you and other drivers safe.
Don’t be afraid to wait it out
If you’re debating getting off the road, you probably should. Driving in a snow storm can make visibility extremely low and you don’t want to put yourself or other drivers in danger. Stopping for a few hours to wait out the storm is worth it. Be sure to listen to weather reports and warnings and use your best judgement.
Also, if you decide to stop, make sure your vehicle is equip with anything you might need to wait it out.
Do not use the jake brake on icy roads
You probably learned this back in the day, but it’s always good to have a reminder of safe truck driving practices. The jake brake is a good tool to use to slow down in normal conditions, but not on snow or ice covered roadways. When your trailer is not straight on the road, too much breaking can cause it to spin out of control.
Make other drivers aware of your presence
You can be cautious at all times but an accident can happen in the blink of an eye from another driver’s actions. Radioing to other truckers that you are going to pass them in snowy conditions is a common courtesy that others will appreciate. If visibility is bad you may want to drive with your hazard lights on so other drivers can better see you.
Professional truckers are always prepared for winter weather conditions, but use these 10 tips as a reminder of how important it is for truck drivers to plan ahead for the winter months.
While truckers can try to be as prepared as possible, accidents can sometimes be unavoidable, something that is especially apparent in the Winter months. If you’re in the Houston area, you might want to contact the law offices of Hilda Sibrian if you have been involved in an incident with a truck. Their informational page on the matter is also available en español (Accidentes de camiones).
If you are in need of financing for your trucking receivables, contact Easy Freight Factoring for a free quote today. We help factor freight receivables for trucking companies of all sizes. Give us a call at 1-866-780-0916.