As winter approaches don’t let the changing seasons catch you off guard. Winter weather conditions can sneak up on even the most experienced driver. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FWA), an average of 5,748,000 motor vehicle accidents happen each year, around 22 percent are weather-related. Poor visibility and reduced traction from rain, snow, haze, and sleet can make driving a challenge. Make safe decisions this year by following preventative safety measures for conditions using these winter truck driving tips.
Prepare for winter with these truck driving tips:
1. Inspect your vehicle
Inspect your vehicle’s air pressure, antifreeze levels, gas, and oil before hitting the road.
2. Slow down
Adjust your speed according to road conditions.
“Slow down and take your time. Don’t feel pressured by the other trucks on the road. Do things systematically and focus on the task at hand.” – Ross Ryckman, Over-the-Road Driver, Verona, WI
3. Keep a good following distance
Leave plenty of space between your truck and the vehicle in front of you.
4. See and be seen
Be aware of your surrounding, making sure to always keep an eye out for the unexpected. Be sure to look ahead and check blind spots regularly.
5. Pay extra attention to your surroundings
Be extra cautious while driving in hazardous winter conditions. Make sure to break early for red lights and stop signs, allow for extra driving distance, and slow down.
6. When in doubt, pull over
Find a safe spot to pull over and wait until the weather conditions improve.
“If you are not comfortable in certain weather conditions, PARK IT. You are only going to endanger yourself and everyone else. Everyone has a different comfort zone.” – Michael Echols, Dedicated Fleet, Jacksonville, FL
PRO TIP: Decrease the chance of your truck freezing to the ground in the morning!
Don’t pull your trailer brakes when you first park for your break. Wait for an hour or so to let them cool off. If you’re parked in a snow-packed/ice-covered parking lot, move your truck a couple of times during the night a few feet backward and forward once your tires cool down.
7. Be prepared & Plan ahead
Plan ahead and look at the weather reports.
“Plan ahead. Look at the weather reports to get an idea of what you might see during the day. Don’t wait till the last minute to brake in slippery conditions, keep an eye out for potential spots you need to be slower, and reduce to desired speed well before you reach the potential spot.” – Sean Cook, Dedicated Fleet, Green Bay, WI
8. Bring Supplies in the event you become stranded
Pack plenty of water and non-perishable food. Also, bring flashlights and batteries.” – Curtis Baker, Dedicated Fleet, Savanna, OK
“Make sure you have winter blades on your wipers and don’t use heated defrost on the windshield because that will cause the blades to accumulate ice and you won’t be able to see.” – Rob Mcguyver, Over-the-Road Driver, Benton, AR
PRO TIP: Pack appropriately for the season.
Bring cat litter or ice melt to absorb moisture and provide traction on snow, slush, or ice.
Pack ice cleats to help prevent slips and falls (ask for some next time you stop by a Paper Transport terminal).
9. Always check twice
Make sure to always look twice before proceeding through an intersection, making a lane change, turning a corner, etc. Visibility is often compromised in winter weather conditions.
Following these tips can help you to prevent an accident. Making safe decisions during a winter storm could save your life and the others around you.
Looking for more safe truck driving tip? Check out 10 Truck Driving Safety Tips