Winter Weather Safety for Truck Drivers
November 3, 2014
Author: Anna Maahs, Account Administrator
It’s that time of year again and the cold winter weather and temperatures are right around the corner. With those colder temperatures brings winter storms, which could lead to difficult and dangerous driving conditions. While there aren’t any secrets to driving safely in winter weather conditions, the following are a few tips that might help cut down the risks associated with severe weather driving.
While it is important to do this before every trip, the threat of winter driving conditions only heighten the importance of a pre-trip inspection. Be sure to check all important items such as fluids (oil, windshield, transmission, etc.), wiper blades, brake lines, lights, and tires. It is also important to check your antifreeze and to add an anti-gel additive to your tank. Ensuring all of these items pass inspection before a trip can help avoid a dangerous situation.
Be Prepared and Carry Supplies
Stock your truck with any basic essentials you may need in the unfortunate event you get stuck, wrecked, caught in backed up traffic, or need to pull over due to bad conditions. This might include warm winter clothing, extra gloves, rain gear, a blanket, windshield scraper, flashlight, jumper cables, tire chains, traction mats, water, and food. Another good tip is to try to always keep your fuel tank half full.
Making a timely delivery is important but no load is worth your life. Slowing down allows a driver more time to react if something occurs. Most accidents occur when driving too fast for road conditions.
Listening to a CB radio may not be the most interesting thing to listen to, but listening to the CB can provide drivers with early warnings regarding road closures, accidents, and hazardous conditions. Knowing these items can help drivers to alter their plans and avoid further delay or weather related problems.
Safety should always be a driver’s top priority when out on the road. All of the experience, skill, and determination in the world cannot overcome all of the dangers associated with winter weather driving. Waiting out the storm may incur penalties on your load due to delay but this cost far outweighs the cost of any accident. Remember to run your engine periodically to keep it from gelling up on you.
Snow Tires and Chains
These items can be particularly helpful when driving in difficult winter weather, and in some states they are actually mandatory for winter driving. Snow tires and chains are designed to add traction, prevent slippage, and aid in stopping or slowing speeds in dangerous winter conditions. Educate yourself on how to properly install snow chains before you get in a situation where you need them, and chain up before reaching poor driving conditions. Remember to stop a short distance from your installation point to recheck and tighten the chains if necessary. The tighter the chain the better.
Properly Securing Your Load
Before attempting to tarp your load, be sure you are wearing proper footwear which includes a rugged, non-slip sole that provides support for each ankle. Waterproof shoes and clothing are a must for any flatbed driver as they are consistently exposed to the elements while tarping in winter weather conditions. Always be aware of where you walk to avoid slips and falls. It may be helpful to start tarping your load at the rear to prevent wind from catching your tarp. Severe weather causes slippery or windy conditions so it is important to always use extreme caution when tarping your load, especially in severe winter conditions!
Many of these items may seem like common sense or you’ve heard them a million times, but when it comes to safety, a few reminders can’t hurt. As always, drive safe and err on the side of caution.
- Aimone, Brad. “Winter Weather Is Approaching. Be Prepared.” Central Orego Truck Company. 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
- “Are You Prepared for Winter.” SAFETY FIRST Information Dedicated to Driver Safety 1 Jan. 2013. Print.
- Lewis, Alphonso. “12 Safety Tips for Bad Weather Driving.” 12 Safety Tips for Bad Weather Driving. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
- “Truck Snow Chains: Preparation for Winter Driving.” Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
- “Winter Weather Driving.” Accident Courtermeasures 1 Jan. 2011. Print.