Whether you’re in the Baltimore area or elsewhere, this year the country has seen an unusual amount of snowy weather. As a truck driver, getting your cargo from one location to another should actually only be your secondary concern. What’s more important is preserving your safety and that of others with whom you share the roads. Here are some safety tips for truck driving on icy roads that you should keep in mind as we await winter’s end.
Take It Slow
Many truck drivers have to manage tight deadlines for arriving at their destination. While doing your job well is important, your safety is even more so. The number one thing truck drivers can do to improve their safety on icy roads is to slow down.
There is no ‘magic formula’ for what is a safe speed. As a rule of thumb, there’s always the speed limit. But in extreme weather conditions or when the roads are especially icy, you may want to slow down even more. Just following this simple rule will improve your safety dramatically.
Increase Following Distance
Next to slowing down when necessary, the second-best thing truck drivers can do to improve their safety on icy roads is to increase their following distance. You may have heard rules of thumb about the proper following distance for truck drivers. A typical example is eight seconds. This is a good rule to follow on sunny days, but you should use even more caution in snowy conditions.
Remember that your average semitruck requires a distance approximately the length of a football field to come to a stop on the road. When the roads are icy, there’s no telling just how much that distance will increase. The longer the following distance you can keep, the better.
In fact, it may be best just to avoid ‘packs’ of other drivers altogether. Of course, this is sometimes easier said than done. But if you can have a stretch of highway to yourself, that’s ideal.
Reschedule If You Have To
Sometimes, the roads are simply too icy for even the most experienced of truck drivers to navigate. If you think you might be experiencing such conditions, or if you simply think that it’s become too dangerous for your own ability, you should listen to your gut.
We know that you never want to have to reschedule your deliveries or pickups. But when the roads are too icy to drive on, it’s quite literally a matter of life or death. Wait for the hazardous conditions to pass and then be on your way.
Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star for all Your Trucking Needs!
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