Fall is already upon us, which means winter is quickly approaching. If you are a commercial truck driver, you know how difficult it is to drive in snow or icy weather. When traveling in poor weather conditions, it is necessary to adapt your driving style, especially on snow-covered roads. Proper maneuvering and control skills are essential in winter weather. Driving in winter weather is inherently dangerous, so it is necessary to be prepared. Here are some tips for driving your truck in winter.
It is critical to remember when the roadways are wet, icy, or covered with snow, and you must slow down and drive cautiously. Even in ideal conditions, speed is one of the most significant factors in most semi-truck accidents. Be sure to decrease your speed when driving on a snow-covered road with poor traction. Slower speeds give you more reaction time if anything goes wrong. Use lower gears and brake gently when going downhill. Also, try to avoid unnecessary lane changes and passing.
Maintain Proper Stopping Distance
Wet and icy roads present the perfect conditions for a rear-end accident. Therefore, as a semi-truck driver, you must maintain a proper distance between your truck and other cars to ensure you have adequate room to stop if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly. Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks require more than twice the stopping distance of passenger vehicles. That distance is even greater when road conditions are hazardous.
Watch for Bridges
Bridges, overpasses, and other elevated surfaces freeze quicker than the regular road. They also may not be salted or treated for icy conditions. Use caution when driving on bridges to avoid spinning out of control on ice or snow.
In winter, you should accelerate and brake slowly. If your truck is not equipped with an automatic braking system, you need to lightly pump the brakes when slowing down.
Carry Emergency Supplies
Winter weather can spell disaster on the highway. So, it is important to come prepared with the necessary supplies should the unexpected happen. Truck drivers should ensure they have cold weather essentials on hand. These supplies can include:
- extra clothing layers
- rain gear
- bag of sand or salt
- tire chains
- jumper cables
Pull Over if Necessary
If you’re nervous about driving in the snow, or the weather has gotten worse, there is no shame in pulling over and waiting out the storm. Assure that your vehicle is equipped with road flares and emergency triangles. Notify your manager or supervisor of any weather and roadway issues.
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