15 VITAL WINTER TRUCKING SAFETY TIPS

The weather in winter is usually characterized by extreme conditions that require big rig drivers and those on a tractor-trailer to apply special skills. Failure to adjust one’s skills as a driver in the winter can be life-threatening. Unfortunately, a large number of drivers still neglect these precautions even when driving in poor weather conditions. Most of them are ignorant of the fact that snow and ice covering the road makes it impossible to maneuver properly because of too much skidding. As a result, they compromise their safety and that of the other road users.

Knowing the skills to implement in weather like winter is a plus for a driver who is doing driving professionally. Also, just by implementing the safety tips while on the road during a poor-weather day, you will be saving lots of lives. As such, it makes sense to muster the smarts to make sound decisions like knowing when it’s to call it quits with the road.

Given the many reasons why you shouldn’t drive under poor weather conditions, it is important to master the vital skills to navigate the roads characterized by conditions such as poor traction, poor visibility and the unpredictability of other drivers. Here are the 15 tips that can help a great deal to keep you safe while on transit:

1. Slowing down

1. slowing down – Over-speeding is one of the major causes of road accidents. For your information, when driving on a road that is covered with snow or ice, even the normal speed limit can be too much. As such, make sure you slow down your speed as much as you can. This is arguably the most important safety tip for winter trucking.

2. Maintaining a safe buffer zone around your truck


There should be more than enough space left between your truck and the adjacent vehicles both in front and on the sides.

3. Avoid travelling as a pack

Most drivers on the highways tend to “stick together” and travel in a group. Well, this can be quite dangerous during the winter because the “packs” usually reduce the space between moving vehicles.

4. Avoid following vehicles ahead too closely

Heavy snows reduce the general visibility of the road which means you could have trouble seeing the vehicles ahead clearly. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to ensure that you keep a safe distance with the vehicles ahead and the best way to do it is by observing the tail lights of the vehicles in front. You are not supposed to be seeing them. IF you do, then it means that you are too close.

5. Always keep distance

Again, distance is critical when driving on foggy terrains. This will protect you from the consequences of a mistake made by another driver either in front or behind you.

6. Make sound decisions

Part of the safety precautions here involves making good choices. Trust me. It will save you a lot. If you feel that the weather is not too permissive to drive, then you probably shouldn’t go on the road. It won’t hurt to wait a couple of hours.

7. Avoid stopping on the road’s shoulder

You should do this to avoid confusing other road users. Remember, snowy weather reduces visibility to a great extent, which means other drivers are going to be straining a little bit.

8. Don’t over-perform

Naturally, having driven your truck for a couple of years and accomplished the milestones worthy of a professional trucker, you are going to want to brave the harsh weather of the winter. A piece of advice! Don’t! The winter is when you need to observe hours of service and dispatcher rules as much as possible. You need sufficient rest and trying to be a hero will only exhaust you and jeopardize your safety as well as that of other road users.

9. Braking


This is yet another sensitive part of trucking in the winter. It is not a good idea to engage the engine brake when the road is icy. Also, limit the use of the foot brake especially when the road is not straight.

10. Check all the systems


This may sound so cliché, but it’s very important to do a round-up check of the various systems on your truck. These include the defroster and heater, the wipers and their motor, the brake and tail lights, the washer fluid and the brakes.
11. Top up the fuel tanks – this is important as it exerts an extra weight on the drive tires to boost the traction.

12. Clean the tractor and trailer lights regularly

Cleaning the accumulated snow and ice off of the lights enhances visibility, which is usually affected by the bad weather.

13. Have all the winter essentials packed

It is also a great idea to ensure that all winter driving essentials are packed before your departure.

14. Preparing for severe weather conditions


Make preparations is always a smart thing to do, and it involves doing more than just wrapping the essentials.

15. Use of common sense while driving

Use a common sense on a bad weather day is another one of the vital tips of winter trucking. You can escape a lot of calamity on the road by simply using your best judgment.

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