Winter road conditions can lead to dangerous driving situations. Not only do truckers face driving in snow and on slippery roads, but they must prepare for possible slow-downs and schedule changes. Fortunately, there are simple ways trucking company drivers can plan and navigate winter road conditions with success.
- Remove Ice and Snow. Clear your window and roof of ice and snow to ensure maximum visibility. This will also help prevent creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Getting into the habit of removing old snow and ice ahead of time allows you to eliminate the danger of additional blind spots on your vehicle during the transportation journey.
- Avoid Extreme Weather Conditions. Download a weather app on your phone to stay informed of current weather conditions. Get into the habit of checking the app during your driving breaks so that you stay up-to-date with any changes. Plan trips around severe weather so that your route can remain timely.
- Map Your Route Ahead of Time. While relying on a GPS is typically the best way to get from point A to point B, it’s best to still sit down and plan your route ahead of time. Not only should you search for the quickest routes, but you should also pay attention to which areas may be trickier for a large truck to navigate. Google Maps allows you to click and zoom directly onto roads to see what they look like. Combine factors with latest weather to make the best route choices possible.
- Slow Down! No matter how hard you plan to stay on schedule, sometimes winter conditions inevitably get you off schedule. Remember, safety is a priority for your trucking company, so slow down and maintain the speed limit or under. Speeding becomes increasingly hazardous. Also, allow plenty of space between you and the driver ahead of you. Your normal following distance should double in length for snow and triple in length for icy conditions.
- Prepare an Emergency Kit. Truck drivers should keep an emergency kit on hand for worst-case scenarios. Contents should include: flashlight, blanket, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, battery powered radio, non-perishable foods, tire repair kit, flares, and jumper cables.
- Don’t Engage the Jake Brake on Icy Roads. Avoid overusing your foot brake, unless the entire unit is absolutely “straight” on the road. Don’t over brake when the unit isn’t straight – the trailer can slide and spin you out of position, causing the truck to slow down while the trailer does not.
- Keep Maintenance Up-to-date. Complete a circle check around the truck before you leave. Check to ensure the defroster and heater work. Wipers, lights, brake and tail lights should all work properly. Don’t forget to check that all windows and mirrors are also clean before you leave.
- Choose Quality Tires. It is important more than ever to drive your truck with quality tires during the winter months. Good quality lug tires combined with proper tire pressure make for best traction for safe winter driving.
Driving a truck safely in winter weather conditions can be a challenge. Take the time to keep your truck well maintained, keep an emergency kit on hand, follow the weather forecast, and plan your transportation route ahead of time. With a few simple steps, you can safely drive in the winter months.
Combined Express, Inc. and Delaware Valley Shippers, Inc. are the premier truckload, intermodal and LTL service providers across the United States, with more than 35 years of industry experience. Moving freight has never been easier or more cost-effective than with our custom transportation services! Our knowledgeable and experienced team of logistics professionals is always on call to assist you with any questions or concerns that might arise. We work closely with you to learn your unique freight needs and to customize a shipping solution that fits your budget and delivers your freight on time.