It is risky due to more ‘stop time’ required, poor visibility, poor traction and the increased unpredictability of other drivers on the road.
Here are a few winter driving tips and tricks that is critical for truckers to learn when handling a tractor trailer and load in foul winter weather.
It is crucial to obey the law and drive at the speed limit, accidents are mostly due to excessive speed.
Keep a safe driving distance
Make sure to follow a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front and beside your truck.
Don’t push beyond the limits of your equipment
One of the best ways to stay safe is knowing what your equipment can handle.
If the weather conditions are bad, rather park your vehicle, call your dispatch and reschedule your appointment.
Warm up the windshields
On those really cold days turn your defroster on high for a minute to help warm the glass.
Carry a hammer and putty knife
When driving in excessive amounts of rain, air tanks can freeze up quickly. Get under your truck and make sure there’s no ice packed up on your air tanks.
Keep an eye on your trailer tires
Inspect your trailer tires regularly, especially when you’ve just hooked up the trailer, and make sure the wheels are turning.
Your taillights should always be highly visible! Check your taillights and license plate every time you stop after driving in cold weather conditions.
Use good judgement
When the weather is to severe, get off the road, find a place to safely wait until the conditions are safe.
Don’t stop on the shoulder of the road
In low visibility situations other vehicles can mistake your position for being on the road and may cause an accident.
Pay attention to breaking
It is especially important to not engage the jake brake on icy roads. The trailer can slide and spin you out of your position.
Ensure all systems are a go
When doing your circle check before leaving make sure that the defroster and heater are working properly. Check your wipers, wiper motor, lights, washer fluid and brakes. Also drain moisture from your air tanks and be certain windows and mirrors are completely clean before departure.
Keep fuel tanks topped up
Keeping your fuel tanks full gives extra weight over the drive tires which helps to give extra needed traction. Make sure to invest in good quality lug tires, with the proper tire pressure, as they are essential for the best safe winter driving.
Keep tractor and trailer lights clean
Clearing ice of the lights are vital when visibility is poor. Make sure everything is clean so you can be seen.