Efficiency Enterprises, Inc. 6300 Efficiency Way Baltimore, MD 21225

Staying Safe During Winter: What Truck Drivers Need To Know

Roads can become extremely dangerous during wintertime. When the snow begins to fall and temperatures drop to sub-zero, even highly experienced truck drivers can have problems with poor visibility and the reduced traction that is so typical of icy roads. Luckily there are a few things they can do to help them stay safe in these conditions. Continue reading to learn more.

Double-check before the trip that you have all the necessary supplies.

If the trip does not work out as planned and you are involved in an accident, get stuck in heavy traffic, or have to pull off and wait out a storm, you are going to need certain supplies. That’s why it’s important to double-check before the trip that you have blankets, warm clothing, water, and food – and that the diesel tanks are full.

Check the truck before the journey.

Getting the truck ready for winter is a crucial part of staying safe and preventing accidents. Start by checking the engine oil. Also check the condition of the tires, tire pressure, antifreeze levels, brakes, lights, and everything else that could negatively impact having a safe journey.

Be on the alert for black ice.

This thin sheet of transparent ice typically forms when temperatures start approaching freezing point. The first warning sign could be when ice starts building up on the windscreen. Reduce your speed when approaching bridges, shaded areas, and overpasses since these are spots where black ice often first starts to form.

Increase following distances.

It takes much longer than usual to bring a large vehicle to a complete standstill when roads are wet, icy, and slippery. This is why truck drivers should always increase following distances during the winter months to help prevent accidents.

Be aware of and prepared for all weather conditions.

You should always make sure that they are up to date with the latest weather conditions on their planned route. Drivers should also use a GPS, radio, or another form of communication to be alerted of accidents ahead, roads that are closed, etc.

Turn signals and hazard lights become even more important during winter. Experienced truck drivers typically have their own rule of thumb for each different road condition. For driving in winter, they would use four to five blinks before moving into the adjacent lane. And they don’t try to match the speed of the other vehicles on the road at all costs. If their load or the road conditions require this, they would rather drive more slowly and use hazard lights to warn other drivers of this fact.

Do not try to be a hero.

There is no load worth a human life. If a truck driver experiences extremely dangerous driving conditions, he or she should know that it’s fine to look for a safe spot where they can wait it out. If there is no space at the nearest truck stop, stop on a ramp or anywhere else that is not in the way. Just beware of parking on a steep incline as you might have issues pulling off again with a full load.

Exercise caution when getting into and out of the truck.

Wintertime means slippery conditions that make it very easy to fall and hurt yourself. Wear boots with a solid grip and when visibility is low, always wear high-visibility clothing.

We always err on the side of caution, especially in unpredictable weather! Looking for more tips or information about how to improve your fleet management? Let Efficiency help! Contact us today.

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Readying Your Fleet for Winter: Why It’s Important

Harsh winter conditions and frigid temperatures are hard on vehicles, especially fleet vehicles which spend hours on the road. To help avoid repairs and costly downtime during winter, you need to ready your fleet for winter in the following ways.

Pay Close Attention to the Tires

Cold temperatures affect tire pressure as it causes tires to deflate. If unnoticed, deflated tires will adversely affect the tire’s durability, fuel economy and pose a threat to overall safety. Therefore, you need to keep tabs on the tires to minimize these risks.

Besides, the freezing temperature during winter causes rubber compounds in tires to harden. Since tires are made of rubber, they become less effective in gripping the road.

As part of tire preparation, rotate the tires and set reminders to keep rotating them. Consider switching from rib tread to lug tread tires to enjoy better stability and vehicle handling to drive smoothly on challenging roads. Additionally, install valve caps on the tires to avoid ice and build-up on the tires.

Change to Winterized Fuel and Protect Your Brakes

A major complaint during winter is vehicles that don’t start when the temperature goes below zero. Fortunately, you can make use of winterized fuel which operates at extremely low temperatures. You can also make use of a special additive package to increase horsepower and reduce fuel costs.

Brakes are also crucial for highway safety, especially during winter. With snow on the roads, the road gets slippery and needs your brakes to be optimally functioning. Check on your brakes and the brake chamber for any tears or signs of corrosion. Consult your mechanic and ask them to add some lubricant to the brake adjusters for reliable stopping power.

Frequently Service Your Fleet and Check Fluids

Cold weather can damage the wearable components of your trucks. Therefore, during winter, you need to be proactive about your fleet maintenance. Frequently check on brake pads, worn belts, and hoses to catch problems in time and avoid expensive repairs. You should also check the glow plug operation for diesel trucks.

Pay close attention to your vehicle’s fluid levels. Since engine oils are not the same, using the wrong oil, especially during winter, can result in excessive engine wear. Besides, heavy oils tend to be highly viscous in cold weather, thus don’t offer the same lubrication as in warm weather.

Therefore, for an easy fleet startup, consider using full-synthetic oil with low viscosity that can operate effectively under different temperatures. As a fleet rental service, you can consult us for recommendations on the best cold-weather fluids to use.

Why You Need to Prepare Your Fleet

Since vehicles are manufactured to survive harsh weather conditions, why should you get your fleet ready for winter? Winter comes with extremely harsh conditions, and ignoring preparation tips means you will be risking antifreeze failure, breakdowns, and low tire traction, which can cause accidents and losses.

Preparing your fleet for winter is important because, first, it saves you money. Although you will spend money getting your fleet ready for winter, it will help save money you would have otherwise spent making repairs or paying for accidents you could have avoided with proper procedures.

Second, preparing for winter helps preserve car tires. Tires are expensive, and it is essential to enhance the durability of your current tires. Besides, failing to take care of car tires during winter could also affect your vehicle’s alignment, causing more inconveniences.

Lastly, preparation helps your fleet remain safe with minimal chances of damage and loss. You wouldn’t want to lose merchandise during transportation. You can avoid this by ensuring your fleet is ready for the harsh winter conditions.

With the above tips, you can easily take care of your fleet during winter. Contact Efficiency today for all of your fleet needs.

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