Driving safely in the winter weather can be a challenge, even for the most experienced truck drivers. With the combination of snow, ice and wind, drivers experience reduced visibility and lost traction. Professional truck drivers also experience everyday drivers who are not accustomed to driving in poor weather conditions. However, by implementing proper driving safety, truck drivers can cruise through the winter months with no major issues while on the road. J.S. Helwig & Son places an emphasis on safety, so we are here to share some of our favorite winter driving tips.
Winter Driving Tips all Truck Drivers Need to Follow
- Prepare the truck – The very first thing truck drivers should do is get their trucks prepared for winter. Check tire pressure, engine oil level and antifreeze level before hitting the road each and every time. We shared a blog all about this topic in October. Please visit here for more detailed information on winterizing a truck.
- Prepare yourself – Before beginning any haul, short or long, drivers need to make sure they are well-rested, have an emergency roadside kit and first aid kit fully stocked and have extra snacks and water in case of an emergency or extended stay on the road.
- Slow the truck down – Many accidents during the winter months occur because drivers do not adjust their speed to the weather conditions. When roads are wet or packed with snow, truck drivers need to compensate for the lost traction by reducing the truck’s speed. By slowing the truck down, drivers also have more time to react if something occurs around them.
- Allow extra space – When the roads are icy and wet, it can take almost 10 times the distance to stop a tractor and trailer. Always leave ample space in front of the truck so it can be moved out of harm’s way more safely.
- Avoid sudden movements – In cold, wet weather, truck drivers should refrain from performing sudden movements, such as braking, turning and accelerating. It is always best to maintain a smooth and consistent driving pattern.
- Assess the roads by tire spray – In most cases, more spray coming off tires indicates a wet road, while less spray indicates an icy road.
- Check around the truck twice – Always look twice when it is snowing or raining. The second glance at a stop sign, turning a corner or changing lanes can make a significant difference in driving safety.
- Pull over – When in doubt or if the roads become hazardous, pull over and stop at a safe destination. Driver safety is always first!
While these winter driving tips may seem simple, they only help truck drivers stay safe if they are followed every time the truck hits the road. Driving safety is critical to all, so please remember to be extra cautious during the winter season.