Although it’s only November, that annoying Christmas music and yes, that winter weather will be here in no time. Whether it’s rain, sleet, or snow, driving in the winter weather can be difficult and dangerous, especially for truckers. We know handling a big rig is stressful enough, so learning how to maneuver your 18-wheeler through the winter months is crucial. Below are just a few winter safety tips to help you keep your rig trucking through the winter.
Winter Safety Tips for Truckers
- Slow Down – The majority of accidents, whether a traditional car or a big rig, are caused by excess speed. Even though you may think driving the speed limit is proficient, icy and/or wet roads pose a greater risk of accident, so it’s important to slow down.
- Keep Trailer Lights Bright and Clean – Late night driving is tough as it is. Driving in the winter weather will make it even more difficult. Dim lights or those that are covered with snow or ice can make it difficult to illuminate the roadways. Vision is the most important aspect of winter driving.
- DON’T TAILGATE – Nobody likes a tailgater, so make sure to keep a safe distance from drivers. Icy roads make stopping very difficult, so keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you will prevent any rear-end collisions.
- Don’t Stop On the Shoulder – Although it’s tempting to do, especially if you’re experiencing mechanical issues, try not to stop on the side of the road. This can be very dangerous, especially in icy conditions. Vehicles can easily slide off the road and damage you or your truck. If you can, try to wait until you reach a rest stop to pull over.
- Don’t Follow the Pack – You might argue that there are strength in numbers, but following the pack can be dangerous. You’ve certainly heard the horror stories of the dozen car pileups on an icy freeway. Don’t write yourself into that nightmare.
- Keep Your Brakes in Check – You’ll want to make sure your brakes are up to standard this weekend. Icy road conditions will force you to stop more frequently, so fresh brake pads are a must. However, try to avoid overusing your foot brake, unless the entire unit is absolutely straight on the road.
- Keep Fuel Tanks Filled – Not only is it good to have a full tank of gas in case of an emergency. The extra weight of the fuel will increase traction for your rig.
- Get Off the Road – If the weather is too bad, find a place to stop. There’s no point in risking your rig or your life trying to navigate bad weather. Your employer will understand that Mother Nature has her own plan, and truckers must respect that.
- Pack a Winter Safety Kit – If you do happen to get stuck while traveling, make sure to have a survival kit ready. Not just cones, road flares, and chains. Make sure you have food, water, and a reliable cell phone. You may be stranded on the roadway for a few days, so it’s important to remain warm and nourished during your stay.
- Make Sure All Systems Are A Go – Finally, be sure to check brakes, lights, fluids, and any other important part of your rig. A winter safety checkup, especially prior to the winter is an important thing to do before you head out into the wintery weather.