Winter Driving: Tips for Truckers
One of the perks of being a part of the trucking industry is being able to travel and experience new adventures as you are hauling your load. However, as fall turns to winter, driving conditions can turn from good to bad overnight. When the temperature drops, you must be ready! It doesn’t matter if in a big city or out on a country road – risks are everywhere and you can use these winter driving tips to keeps you and your cargo safe.
When conditions make a turn for the worst, it is important to make sure your truck is in tip top shape before hitting the road. First, check your battery – cold weather lowers battery power. For fifth wheel lubrication, make sure you find a winter-grade product to minimize any steering issues during your winter driving. Inspect the coolant in your radiator, heater, defroster, and wiper blades considering some of this may not have been used in a year or the winter weather conditions could cause a leak. Lastly and most importantly, check your tires! Winter driving is treacherous enough and without a good tread on your tires, you could slide all over the road.
Equipment and Supplies
Many states have chaining laws. Know those laws before traveling through those state in case of bad weather. Learn how to put on those chains before you actually need them because trying to learn in a heavy snowfall would not be the ideal time. Chains may make your winter driving journey just a little easier.
Gelling is big concern in cold, freezing temperatures. Know if your vehicle has fuel tank heaters, don’t leave your truck turned off for too long, keep your tank as full as possible, and be mindful if you fill up in the south but are traveling north – southern states don’t face such harsh winter driving conditions, so they do not require blended fuel.
Lastly, pack yourself a winter driving kit in case of an emergency. Below are some recommended items to included:
Flashlight with batteries
First aid kit
Warm Clothing: gloves, socks, hats, rain gear
Bag of salt
Windshield washer fluid
Lighter, matchers, fire starter
Winter Driving Conditions
Two important items to have to determine to severity of your driving conditions: good source for a weather report and a thermometer. Both will help understand the road conditions and can help you from being in a dangerous situation.
Things Can Go Wrong
When it comes to winter driving, something will go wrong. You just have to remember to respond quick and smart. Some common dangers during winter driving are frozen brakes, skidding, and jack-knifing.
Frozen Brakes: back up to break free or hit them with a hammer
Skidding: depress the clutch and keep steering until your regain control – avoid braking during this time if possible
Jack-knifing: never use the brakes but use the accelerator to pull the trailer back in line
Without a doubt, winter driving is difficult, but the first thing to think about it safety. Take extra caution during such cold and snowy conditions and never panic. Bobtail Insurance Group wants to keep you safe during all seasons! Call BIG at 1-833-4-RIG-INS for additional safety material.