Winter weather is rough on everybody, but truck drivers need to be especially careful considering the size and strength of their vehicles. If your trips take you into cold winter weather, you need to expect the worst. Here are eight tips for truckers who have to battle winter driving conditions:
- Look out for warning signs. If there’s ice on your windshield, there’s most likely ice on the road. Even a thin layer can pose a hazard. Similarly, if you see other trucks spun out or pulled over, you should take it as a message to slow down and exercise extra caution.
- Plan ahead by stocking your truck with essential food and clothing, just in case you run into a problem on the road. Be realistic about how much time you’ll need to complete the trip, and keep your gas tank full to avoid running out of fuel in dangerous conditions.
- Most traction issues will occur when the temperature hovers right around freezing. Black ice is dangerous because of how similar it looks to water. Hydroplaning is the worst, when your truck glides over a thin layer of water resting on ice. Make sure you have the tires that can handle these types of conditions.
- Always give yourself extra stopping room. Turn off your cruise control and shoot for a ten second cushion between yourself and the car in front of you. Make sure you have an “escape route” in case you need to think fast and make a snap decision.
- Slow down and make gentle movements, especially when you’re speeding up or slowing down. Take the curves extra slowly. You need to make sure you’re overcompensating for the unpredictability of the road.
- Intensify your pre-trip inspection, and never skip it when you’re expecting to encounter winter conditions. Check that every light is working, as they become so much more crucial in the heavy snow. Make sure to check your brake lines and tires as well. Continue to look over your truck for warning signs at stopping points, and clear any ice or snow that’s accumulated in key areas.
- Relax. Breathe. Beginning truck drivers might panic during their first encounter with winter weather, and this only makes things worse. Focus on the road, while staying positive and calm.
- If you feel like you could be putting yourself or others in danger by being on the road, pull off immediately. Call your company and let them know that you feel unsafe.
For further safety tips and trucking advice, stick to the Platinum Drivers blog. If you’re looking for CDL driver staffing and placement services in Texas, Atlanta, or Louisiana, visit our website for more information today.