On and Off the Road Again: Winter Safety Tips Just for Truckers

Written by a Guest Blogger

Truckers have no choice but to drive in the winter. So, if you’re in this unenviable position, here’s what you need to do to stay safe during the winter season.

Monitor The Weather

If you have a smartphone, this should be easy. Just keep an eye on the weather. Download a weather app, and have it send you alerts before your trip. If you have a screen in the cab, or a way to project the smartphone’s screen onto a larger, fixed, screen, you should do that so you can monitor the weather while you’re on the road.

Knowing about bad weather in advance can help you make plans to either reroute yourself or stop in somewhere until the weather clears up (if possible).

Plan Out Your Trip

Plan out your trip and route yourself around bad weather. It you know a storm is coming through, for example, you can avoid it if you’re willing to take a different route than the one the company had originally planned out for you.

Of course, you don’t want to go too far out of your way, but a slight detour might let you drive ahead or to the side of it, completely eliminating, or mitigating, the danger.

Check your Equipment

Check your equipment before you hit the road. When winter weather strikes, make sure that all your lights are working, that air is drained from the trailer and the truck’s tanks, and that there are no contaminants in the brake lines. Check your tire pressure too.

If you’re driving through snow, you may need to stop periodically to knock off the tire flaps and undercarriages. This could prevent damage to your rig, but also prevent an accident on the road if packed ice manages to break loose.

Carry Extra Equipment

During winter months, carry extra equipment with you, like chains, bungees, reflective tape or vests, kneeling pads, a non-battery-powered flashlight, waterproof gloves, boots with good traction, extra warm clothing, anti-gel, and extra windshield washer fluid.

Know A Good Lawyer

You’ll also want to know a good lawyer, as truck accident lawyers can be very helpful if you’re involved in a crash on the road.

Keep It Slow

Drive slow. While you do have deadlines, you shouldn’t risk your life to meet them and your trucking company shouldn’t expect you to.

Know Evasive Maneuvers

If you feel the back of your truck start to slide, and the trailer breaks loose, you probably know what’s about to happen: jackknife. It’s a situation no trucker wants to find themselves in – especially newbies.

But, there are ways to correct it and get yourself out of trouble. While there’s no foolproof way to avoid losing traction in bad weather, you can minimize the risks by never using the clutch or engine brake when the traction is lost. Let your foot off the pedal slightly and steer into wherever the trailer is headed. So, if she’s breaking to the right, you turn into it, for example.

This should get you out of a precarious situation and save your life as well as those around you.

About the Blogger

Jamie Dean works at a large haulage company. During his 10 years of working around trucks and truckers he has picked up some tips which he shares through his writing. His articles appear on trucking/haulage sites and business blogs.

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Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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