Truck Driving in the Winter – How to Be a Safer Driver This Christmas.
Oh boy, the winter is here. All those things we love including cold weather, rain, snow, and ice can all be expected soon. And, if there’s one thing we love as truck drivers, it’s dangerous driving conditions (full disclosure, that’s a joke, and not serious at all).
Dangerous driving conditions are no joke and cause serious injury or even death. Because of this, we drivers have to take extra steps to ensure we’re as safe as possible on the wintery roads. But how exactly can we do this?
Well, lucky for you we’re going to highlight some of the best ways you can become a safer driver this Christmas. Without further ado, we start with:
One of the most obvious ways of staying safe during the winter period is, of course, reducing the speed you’re driving at.
We all know that driving too slowly is just as likely to cause accidents as driving too fast, but when the roads are likely to be slippery, driving fast is a definite no-no. Driving at a reduced speed is also recommended when visibility is low, as it’s often hard to see what’s up ahead of you, or where other vehicles are on the road.
Regular Vehicle Checks.
Of course, as a professional truck driver, you should be performing vehicle checks regularly. However, during the winter months, it’s important you go above and beyond with checks on your truck, as these will help to keep you safer and prevent accidents.
Although most, if not all of these should be on your checklist for any other part of the year, it’s extra important to regularly check on your:
Check both the power and charging systems are working.
Without functional defrosters, you’re going to have a hard time creating acceptable working conditions in your truck.
Snow can build up in your exhaust. You’ll want to clear out any snow before turning on your engine.
- Fluid Levels.
Topping up your fluid levels will ensure you’re never left high and dry (or wet and cold) whilst out on the road.
- Fuel Levels.
Because running out of fuel in the middle of a trip is bad at the worst of times, let alone during the winter months.
Your tires can endure a tough time on the road during the winter. Check your tires for wear, as well as checking the balance and pressure.
- Wiper Blades.
If your wiper blades malfunction during a journey, you’re going to have to make an emergency stop.
The cold weather and ice and cause havoc with your windscreen. Be sure to check for any small cracks and nicks and get them sorted immediately.
Give Yourself Space.
During the winter months, you can expect the roads to icy and slippery, and at times of extreme weather, this can become much more unsafe than usual.
Allowing for more space between your truck and the other vehicles around you can help to make your driving experience much safer. Due to the road conditions, your stopping distance can become significantly larger during the winter months, and this is something you must account for.
From time to time, you’ll encounter drivers that feel intimidated when driving alongside your truck. This can cause them to speed up, slow down, try to get away from your vehicle, or even become erratic. This can be difficult to deal with during the best of times, let alone the winter months. So, take this into account when driving this winter, and help to make the roads a safer place for everybody.
Understand the Situation.
The winter weather is something nobody can control, and no matter how much you prepare, sometimes conditions and situations will be out of your hands.
Because of this, it’s important to understand the severity of the situation. If the roads are too dangerous to drive on, and you’re unable to safely operate your truck, contact your employer. Your life is more important than any delivery you’re likely to be on, so consider this when facing extreme weather conditions this winter.
Stay in Contact.
Much like our previous point states, it’s important to stay in contact. Be able to contact both your employer and whomever the delivery is for, just in case.
It’s also important to have a means of contact in your truck (such as a mobile phone) if you become stuck in a remote location. The weather conditions in winter can be unforgiving in some countries, so it’s important to have the ability to contact the appropriate people should something bad happen, or you need to make a stop for your own safety.
Be Prepared for Any Occasion.
When you’re on the road, you’re going to want to bring several must-have items with you. We’ve been over these in our blogs 12 Things and 10 More Things Every Trucker Should Travel With. However, during the winter period, there are some additional items you’ll want to ensure you have in your cab.
These items include:
- Food and Water.
- Hi-Vis Vest and Jacket.
- Jump Cables.
- Warm Blankets and Clothing.
Stocking up with a bag or two of salt or sand, as well as a shovel are also good items to bring with you on the road this winter. Although, if you forget any of these items, don’t fret, as most are able to buy at service stations and truck stops.
Take Care Entering/Exiting Your Truck.
The last entry on our list is simple but is something many truckers fail to acknowledge.
Of course, with the winter weather comes wet, slippery, and icy surfaces, both on and off your truck. Because of this, you’ll want to be careful when both entering and exiting your cab, as doing so without care can lead to bad landings, slips, trips, and falls. And of course, nobody wants to be injured and have to spend time on the side-lines, especially when that injury has come from something as simple as getting out of your truck…
There you have it, some helpful and handy tips on how to be a safer driver this Christmas. Think we’ve missed any? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to update our list!
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Thanks for reading, stay safe, and we’ll see you on the road.