If you’ve been on social media this week, you’ve probably seen the scary footage of the icy interstate pileups in Texas and Iowa. Icy, snowy, and wet conditions can make winter trucking tricky, but you can’t just stop driving until Spring arrives. Instead, you have to drive through some wintery conditions, so do it correctly, and know when to stop. Here are some winter driving tips for truck drivers.
Prepping For Snow
Before embarking on a winter trucking trip, check the weather. Keeping your life and preventing accidents is more important than getting tons of skittles to Wal-Mart. However, we do understand the certain situations when a delivery of essential items needs to be made.
Pack a bag of emergency items. Include extra blankets, and warm clothes like a waterproof jacket, a warm hat, gloves, and boots, in case you have to get out of your cab and wait to be rescued. If you stay in your cab you’ll need those blankets to keep warm. A dead truck won’t fill the cab with heat.
Your emergency kit should also include food and water in case you get stranded, a flashlight and flares, a windshield scraper, jumper cables, chains or traction mats, and a bag of salt or sand.
When you’re getting ready to leave and at every stop, top off your gas and make sure your windshield fluid is topped off with fluid that won’t freeze. Also, make sure your truck has antifreeze and has been serviced for winter trucking. Your tires should be winter tires or all season tires to have deeper grooves for more traction.
Make sure that your heaters and defrosters are all working properly, along with your window wipers, which you should have a really good pair to wipe thick snow and ice away.
Defrost your windows completely and wipe all the snow away for the best visibility while truck driving in snow. Then wipe any snow from your headlights, tail lights, and blinkers away, so you can see and people can see you. Also, don’t forget to wipe the snow off the top of your cab!
While driving, slow down. Don’t accelerate too quickly, don’t brake too hard, and don’t take turns too quickly. Keep a firm grip on the wheel, stay calm, and don’t make sudden jerky movements. Never use cruise control as it over spins the tires if you start to slip or slide.
Keep extra distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. If you’re whizzing past people creeping in the right line, slow down.
Watch out for black ice. When conditions are between 22 to 32 degrees, it’s actually the most dangerous because the snow and ice are very wet and slippery, and the road freezes in some places that can be hard to see.
Be careful when you approach bridges, as they freeze first and can be tricky. Plus, pay attention to all road signs, they’re pretty serious with winter conditions. If a curve should be taken at 35 mph don’t push it.
Should you start to slip and lose control do not slam on the brakes, especially if your trailer isn’t straight. Ease off the gas and gently glide to a stop while maintaining your steering.
If you have any doubts whatsoever, then it’s time to stop. No need to push it. Simply pull off at safe location and wait it out. In most cases snow plows have interstates and ramps cleared pretty quickly.
Winter has already been tough this year. Be prepared with the tools necessary to make it through truck driving in snow, be safe, and know when to stop.
For more winter trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax and please share your stories about winter trucking in the comment section below.