13 Dec 7 Winter Driving Tips for Truckers
No matter the season, truck driving is inherently dangerous. As a professional driver, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and others on the road. That’s because some of the most deadly car accidents are those that involve big rigs. And winter makes this job especially challenging and dangerous.
Despite conditions, drivers are expected to continue making deliveries, especially during the holiday gift-giving season. So, as a professional truck driver, you must master these winter-driving tips to help maintain safety on the roads.
7 Winter Driving Tips:
- Slow down. This is likely the most critical piece of advice you can apply. In any sort of inclement weather, your first line of defense should involve slower speeds. That’s because, with rain, snow, or ice, you have much less time to react to a sudden stop.
- Be prepared with winter essentials. Sometimes, the weather can get the best of even the most heavy-duty trucks and their most experienced drivers. In this case, you may need to dig out your tires, apply your chains, or even spend an unplanned night on the road. So make sure to come supplied with everything you’ll potentially need. This could include extra clothing layers, gloves, a flashlight, windshield fluid, blankets, sand or salt, tire chains, jumper cables, and snow scrapers.
- Keep your fuel tanks topped for the extra weight over the tires. This will enhance the tires’ traction upon slippery, snowy surfaces. In addition to this excess weight, make sure that before the snow hits, to have high-quality lug tires with proper tire pressure installed. Good traction will instantly enhance the safety of your driving.
- Make sure your tractor and trailer lights are kept clean. Consider how the conditions might affect your lights. If it is snowing, your lights could be covered and rendered useless. So, clear them of snow and ice frequently. This is a vital practice, as your lights will keep you safe and seen.
- Keep your distance. As in any inclement weather driving conditions, it is essential to keep a safe driving distance from the person in front of you. Your following distance should allow for more than enough time to stop and maneuver your truck in unexpected stops.
- Take special precautions over bridges. Roads on bridges, overpasses, and other elevated surfaces are prone to freezing faster than regular roads. Plus, they might not receive adequate plowing or proper salting. So, use extra caution when approaching these surfaces to avoid spinning out of control.
- Brake and accelerate slowly in winter conditions. Braking properly can pose one of the greatest challenges. However, it can also prevent serious accidents. If your truck is not equipped with an anti-lock braking system, you can instead lightly pump your breaks for a controlled slowdown.
Finally, remember that the best drivers are discerning when they should choose not to drive in too harsh of conditions. Pull over when the circumstances are too threatening to the safety of yourself or those around you. And in the case of a trucking accident this winter, be sure to reach out to us at The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro for expert legal counsel and advocacy. We are here to defend you in your greatest time of need.