Winter Driving is Almost Here – Start to Prepare Now

winter-drivingThe month of October is slipping by and for many truck drivers that means the start of winter driving with snow, ice and freezing temperatures. If you are an experienced over the road driver, you already know now is the time to start preparing your truck and emergency roadside kit for the upcoming months. All of us at J.S. Helwig & Son believe safety comes first when out on the road, so we would like to remind all drivers, new and experienced, of the most important tips for winterizing your truck.

Tips for Winterizing your Truck

As the temperatures continue to cool down, all truck drivers should have one thing on their mind: winterizing their truck. Taking the proper steps to make sure your truck is ready for winter driving helps ensure safety and peace of mind during the cold months.

Follow these simple tips for winterizing your truck:

  • Prepare an emergency roadside kit that includes a first aid kit, extra blankets, flashlight with extra batteries, winter clothing (snow boots, gloves, scarves and extra layers), snow shovel, flares and extra fluids.
  • Check the battery to make sure it has a good lifespan since freezing temperatures can drain a battery quickly.
  • Inspect the cooling system since any item that is worn, damaged or cracked will worsen as temperatures drop.
  • Check all fluid levels, including but not limited to oil and coolant.
  • Check the fuel filter and water separator since condensation will form on the inside of a warm fuel tank as the outside temperatures plunge.
  • Inspect the air dryer to help eliminate the risk of brake line freezing.
  • Check brake pads to ensure good thickness, as well as look for proper positioning for brake indicators.
  • Inspect the tires to ensure they are properly inflated and in good shape to navigate wet roads.
  • Check all windshield items such as wipers and fluids.
  • Keep the engine warm. If you are going to travel the coldest regions in the US, you should consider an electric engine block heater.

Many drivers perform these winterizing items as part of their pre-trip and post-trip inspections. If you do not do this already, we highly encourage you to begin implementing these items throughout the winter on each and every trip.

Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Unfortunately, winter driving is typically a stressful time of year for many over the road truck drivers. By following these winter driving tips, you can feel safer and more comfortable.

  • If visibility becomes poor, slow down, turn on your lights and hazards and pull completely off the road (never on the shoulder).
  • Be cautious on wet roads. If very little spray is coming off your tires, you may be on black ice. If a lot of spray is coming off your tires, the road is likely just wet, but still slow down and keep a safe following distance.
  • Pass all vehicles and other trucks with extreme caution. Do not pass in groups. By becoming part of a group, you may not have ample time to react to the vehicle in front of you.

By following these tips, you can help ensure your safety on the road while winter driving. If you are a Helwig driver and need assistance with winterizing your truck, please do not hesitate to ask our team.