Trucking Through the Winter
Winter along major trucking routes can last a long time, and with the season comes the increased potential for dangerous snow and ice across the country. Winter weather demands higher levels of truck driving skill and situational awareness. Even the most experienced truckers are not immune to jackknifing on the ice. If you’re running through the colder parts of the U.S. during winter, check out these tips for keeping your truck safely on the road.
Preparation and Inspection
You can’t always predict a sudden snowstorm or a cold front that freezes the roads. That’s why it’s best to stock your truck with supplies to prepare for any winter weather emergency. Be sure to keep an extra set of winter clothes, rain gear and gloves in the truck in case you lose power or are run off the road. Flashlights, signal signs and jumper cables can also help you flag down help in an emergency. Finally, be sure to inspect the truck thoroughly before every trip to ensure all your tires, lights and fluids are in working order.
This may seem like common sense, but it’s worth repeating. You can’t always see those slick spots on the road. Going too fast over just one can put your whole truck in a spin. Slow down in questionable weather to give yourself plenty of time to react. Truck driving in winter requires patience. Of course you want to arrive at your destination quickly, but prioritize your safety while road conditions are bad.
Careful on Bridges
Bridges and overpasses generally freeze before main roads, and many aren’t treated with anti-freeze salt. Your truck may be handling just fine on the road, but start to lose traction when you hit a bridge. Be sure to take it slow and exercise more caution when driving over bridges.
We have written our rules for tractor trailer breakdowns and emergencies. The same rules apply to winter weather emergencies. If you do happen to get stuck in a blizzard or ice runs you off the road, stay in your truck. Leaving your truck in the middle of a bad storm leaves the chance that you may not be able to find your way back. Instead, bundle up, stay moving and run your truck for 20 minutes every hour to stay warm until conditions clear. Stay in touch with dispatch to alert them of your situation.
Remember, you are in control of your truck. If winter weather puts our drivers in a situation that puts their safety in jeopardy, we trust them to make the best possible decision. As you dream of warm summer days, follow these tips to make sure you get through the winter without a scratch.
For more helpful trucking tips, check out our Driver Tips blog.