Winter Driving Tips For Truck Drivers
Driving a truck is an excellent profession with many reasons to enjoy the work, but it comes with its own set of responsibilities - such as driving safely on ice and snow. Making a mistake while driving in winter weather conditions can have substantial consequences, and unfavorable weather conditions can appear suddenly. You can stay safe on the road and make it to your destination safely by taking a few precautions.
We've compiled a list for you of MigWay's tips for winter driving safety. Proper preparation and awareness behind the wheel will take you much further driving in winter weather conditions than talent ever will! Read carefully to brush up on your knowledge of winter driving tips so you can prepare for anything that comes!
Look after your equipment
As a truck driver, you can never be too prepared. First, make sure that your truck is adequately equipped for winter weather driving before leaving out on your trip. Key areas of your truck's inspection should include checking equipment such as tire tread, batteries, fuel, oil levels, and a cold-weather survival kit in case the worst happens. During winter weather, we recommend double-checking all of your equipment when doing your pre-trip inspection for the day to ensure a smooth day without truck issues causing you to break down in the snow. We understand you might not want to because it is cold outside, but it is your responsibility to inspect your equipment as a professional driver. Doing so can save someone's life and avoid court fees or worse. Remove any snow from your windows and mirrors before leaving out, and consider removing the snow from the top of your truck to prevent any falling and hitting cars behind you on the road. Also, check your lights to make sure they are visible to other drivers.
As a professional driver, you are on the road to make it to your destination safely, along with ensuring the safety of drivers around you. While this might seem like a no-brainer tip, think about how many drivers on the road you see follow this advice in the heat of the moment. Don't worry about others expecting you to drive at a certain speed. The posted speed limit suggests the top speed to drive during ideal weather, but you must reduce your speed significantly when driving on ice and snow. Remember, the ice is not forgiving, so drive slowly and carefully and move at a safe pace without endangering the lives of others. Also, don't forget to slow down even more around areas such as bridges and highway overpasses. These roads freeze faster and do not receive salt treatment as urgently as roads with a lot of traffic each day.
Generous stopping distance
When driving in ice and snow, the amount of stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you should be much more than usual. Slippery roads create a recipe for disaster when vehicles move together at high speeds. Vehicles driving in this manner are called a wolf pack. Do not include yourself in a wolf pack, especially when you see the roads are possibly icy. If you find yourself surrounded by vehicles moving at high speeds together, make it a priority to disassemble and fall back. Also, avoid unnecessary lane changes to prevent endangering those around you.
Keep your lights turned on
Without regard to the time of day, you should keep your lights on during times of inclement weather to alert drivers of your presence. Keeping your lights on notifies drivers around you that you are taking necessary precautions to make it safer when driving on possibly icy roads, perhaps encouraging them to do the same. Drivers around you will feel safer driving near you because keeping your lights on and flashing will communicate to them that you are aware of the situation, and you are mindful not to make any rash movements.
Never brake suddenly
Sudden movements should be avoided at all costs when driving on possibly icy roads. Quick movements such as sharp turns and sudden braking will lose the little traction you have on the ice. Losing traction from quick movements on the ice could lead to a jack-knife and could be the start of a multi-vehicle pile-up on the road. When driving with an empty trailer on possibly icy roads, you have to be aware that you will have less traction, and it is much easier to jack-knife, even moving at slower speeds! For this reason, it is essential to move slowly, pay attention to the road ahead and of your surroundings, and lightly and pre-emptively use the brakes instead of last-minute slamming the brakes. If the roads are icy, it is better to pull over and wait until better road conditions.
Be vigilant and attentive
Stay alert and attentive behind the wheel. Remember to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and never use cruise control during times of rough weather such as snow and ice. Keep an eye on other vehicles and their movements because other drivers can be unaware of the necessary steps to take when driving on possibly icy roads. Being alert and attentive will give you those extra few seconds you will need to react if a nearby driver pulls an unsafe maneuver. It is better to maneuver around the dangerous driver than slamming the brakes in this case. It's essential to keep your attention on the road because those few extra seconds of reaction time significantly increase your chances of making it out safely. Also, we recommend being aware of your consumption of stimulants on the road like coffee and energy drinks when driving on ice and snow. While coffee can help you keep alert if you are sleepy, caffeine can cause you to be impatient and anxious to arrive at your destination instead of having a soft focus on the moment ahead, which gives you the best chance of preventing irrational decisions.
Don't be afraid to pull over
Be proactive in checking current weather updates to stay informed of weather conditions in the area you're in. If the weather conditions are too severe to drive, find a safe spot to wait until the weather conditions become more suitable before rolling again. Don't forget to let your driver manager know regarding the weather you're experiencing and of your plans to pull over so they can begin working on informing contacts on the customer's side. If you are in an area where chains are necessary to drive, it is better to pull over and wait until more suitable driving conditions instead of taking the risk of harming yourself or someone else. Your life is worth much more than reaching your destination on time.
While the thought of driving in ice and snow might seem daunting, professional drivers have been safely delivering our essential shipments winter after winter. You will hear a rule surrounding driving in winter weather: respect the ice, or it will make you respect it. You will safely reach your destination through preparation and keeping tips like these ready at hand. If you make sure to follow all of these tips, you can rest easy knowing that you are well prepared to handle the beautiful winter weather we all love to enjoy.