Truck Drivers: Tips on Staying Safe During Winter Driving
Winter is coming up fast, which means conditions could be hazardous to those traveling. Truck drivers are on the road on a daily basis, no matter the weather. Their job is an important one; if they don't drive, customers do not get the product they need. Some drivers find themselves in bad weather and traveling on dangerous roads, trying to make their delivery. Safety is very important when operating an eighty thousand pound vehicle. Here are a few tips on how to make it to your destination as safely as possible while batting Mother Nature.
Before starting your trip, perform a pre-trip inspection of your semi. Check the oil, water and transmission fluid, be sure they are full. No one wants to break down on the side of the road, especially during the winter season. Also, be sure to check all the tires, including the ones on the trailer. After you perform those tasks, it's now time to check the airlines and brakes. If you are headed to a state that has below zero temperatures, you might want to make sure you have the proper gel that goes in your fuel tank, this is to keep your fuel from freezing. Take the time to make sure everything is operating properly before hitting the highway.
Inside the Cab
While traveling in the winter, there are a few essentials drivers will need. Extra blankets in the bunk is a great idea. If you break down and have no heat, you will have the blankets to bundle in until help arrives. Another essential is plenty of food. There could be times when you are unable to make it to a truck stop for a hot meal, if you have extra food and water in the truck, you won't go hungry.
Having a flashlight and extra batteries is very important, as well as a variety of tools, a driver never knows when something may happen here they need these simple tools to help them get by if they find themselves on the side of the road waiting for assistance.
Most motorists knows that semi's can't stop on a dime. Sadly, most 4-wheel drivers cut in and out in front of sem's; this is very dangerous, especially in the winter when the roads are wet and icy. Do your best to keep a good distance from the vehicle in front of you and give yourself plenty of time to stop. This is extremely important, you never know when you might drive up on a traffic jam or when someone in front of you might slams on their brakes. It's a good idea to brake slowly; roads could be icy and this is key to keep your semi from sliding on the highway. If weather conditions are hazardous, please find a place to park; do not drive.
- Do not use a Jake Brake on icy roads.
- Keep all lights on the tractor and trailer clean and visible.
- Try to keep the fuel tanks full.
- Plan the route to your destination ahead of time.
- Be prepared for delays.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Do not engage cruise control.
- Wear proper footwear.
- Be sure your loaded weight is correct.
- Maintain a safe speed.
- Hold steering wheel firmly.
- Cross bridges with caution.