Although we’re just getting into the fall weather, there’s no better time to talk about winter trucking than right now. Before you know it the temperatures will drop and those slick and icy conditions will be the number one thing on your mind as you traverse the roads. Luckily, as long as you’re prepared and know how to maintain your rig, you’ll be able to truck in winter conditions no matter what you’re carrying. These winter trucking safety tips will ensure that you and your rig can travel safely and efficiently. Knowledge and implementation of proper, preventative safety skills for driving in poor conditions can truly separate the professional drivers from the rest of the pack. They have the smarts for making good decisions and knowing when conditions are not safe, and they know when it’s time to get off the road. Check out some of the best winter trucking safety tips we’ve provided below.
Winter Trucking Safety Tips
Prepare Before the Trip
One of the most important aspects of maintaining your winter trucking safety is to examine your rig prior to any major trip. It’s always vital to check your equipment before you hit the road, but especially so when winter weather strikes. Check that all lights are working properly, air is drained from the truck’s and trailer’s tanks to avoid frozen brake lines, and that tire pressures are correct to prevent a disastrous flat. If you feel like you will need chains on your tires, make sure that they are attached properly, and as always, make sure you have a proper winter survival kit containing food, water, and medical supplies in case you get stuck somewhere for a prolonged period of time.
When it comes to winter trucking safety tips, one of the most important things to do is to maintain caution while on the road. During winter storm conditions, high winds and low visibility due to blowing snow can severely impact the stability of a load or the vehicle. This can prevent the driver from seeing obstacles and hazards on or near the roadway. Even more dangerous is so-called “black ice,” which creates a nearly frictionless surface on the road. Black ice can cause even the biggest tires to slip. Thousands of accidents every year are attributed to black ice. In addition to the potential damage to the vehicle itself, fragile cargoes can easily be damaged or destroyed in such accidents. While we know that you might have cargo that is time sensitive, it’s important to look out for your safety first. These winter trucking safety tips are designed to ensure that you’re keeping your health and safety in check while on the road. You can always replace cargo, but you can’t replace your life or the lives of others.
If Conditions Get Bad, Pull Over!
Similar to the previous trucking safety tips, there’s no reason to put your own life at risk for the sake of completing a haul. Don’t push your luck and assume that plows have treated the roadways. Use your best judgment. Listen to weather reports and warnings and react appropriately. Many drivers use the possible expense of not making a delivery as scheduled as a good reason to press on in extreme weather conditions. If the snow is falling faster than salt and sand trucks or plows can clear it away, this kind of thinking can result in a tragic accident. Of course making a timely delivery is important, but relatively few loads are legitimate “life or death” matters. You might not want to wait out the storm in a motel or in a diner, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember that if you need to pull over to the side of the road, remain in your rig. Trying to brave the elements by walking somewhere can be very dangerous and even fatal.