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.