Trucks have to stay on the road to keep critical supplies moving no matter the weather. These winter driving tips will help both of you and your fellow truck drivers stay safe this season.
1. Change How You Do Vehicle Inspections
One of the best driving tips starts before you hit the road. Pay attention to tire pressure, engine oil, and antifreeze when you’re on the road. These are the leading causes of breakdowns during winter driving. Bring your rig in for a winter checkup to ensure it’s ready to handle cold weather.
2. Slow Down
Slowing down on the snow and ice-covered roads gives you more time to react. It may make delivery times longer, but it’s worth taking the time to get there in one piece.
3. Give Yourself Some Space
Slick surfaces drastically increase stopping distances. Stopping on a wet road takes twice as long as it does a dry road, while this can take ten times as long to stop on ice. Increase following distances to get the space you need to come to a stop.
4. Drive Gently
Even the best truck drivers can’t ignore physics. Decreased traction makes it easier to lose control when you make quick changes to steering and brake inputs. Take it easy when you change direction. If you need to make a quick stop, pump your brakes when you feel your tires are near their limit.
5. Watch for Tire Spray
You may have heard some of these driving tips, there’s one most people don’t know: You can tell if roads are wet or frozen by watching for tire spray from other vehicles. If the tires are shooting large plumes of water, the surface is wet. If there’s little to no water coming off the tires, the road is frozen.
6. Take Care of Your Lights
One of the best driving tips is the simplest: turn your lights on to stay visible in storms. Truck drivers can feel invincible in their rigs, but even the biggest tractor-trailer can disappear in poor weather conditions. When you stop, wipe off the snow and ice from your lights so that they can do their job.
7. Steering is Sometimes Better than Braking
If you’re driving below 30 MPH, it may be easier to slow down and steer around obstacles instead of trying to come to a complete stop.
8. Don't Be Afraid to Pull Over
Your schedule isn’t worth risking your life. If you find the winter driving conditions are too much to handle, pull over and wait it out.
9. Look Twice
Whiteout conditions can hide signs and traffic lights. Before you pull out, take a second look to make sure you didn’t miss anything.