A year ago, we offered seven safety tips for truckers navigating the winter roadways — tips that can help even some of the most experienced drivers out there. However, there are many more measures you can take to help avoid accidents and other troubles on the road during the most frigid climates. To help you prepare for trucking on icy roads, we put together this list of five more tips for safe winter driving:
Tip #1: Clear Snow & Ice From the Vehicle Before Each Trip
Make sure to take some time before each trip (and during stops) to check on the condition of your vehicle. Be sure to clear any snow and ice from key areas of the vehicle, including the windows, hood, roof, lights, and trunk of the truck. This tip may seem obvious, but snow or ice that is stuck to any of these areas can shift while driving and potentially reduce your visibility unexpectedly, not to mention be dangerous to other motorists.
Tip #2: Keep a Well-Stocked Winter Driving Kit With You
Take a look at the infographic below for some items to keep stocked in your winter driver kit, which should always be with you while truck driving in the winter:
Tip #3: Use Extra Caution on Hills/Mountains
Winter weather steep inclines, hills, and in the mountains can be very extreme and unpredictable. Be alert for strong gusts of wind while you are in exposed positions and stay on the lookout for emergency vehicles, snowplows, etc. You may also want to watch out for melting or hard-packed snow, as it can cause your vehicle to slip and lose control. Unless it is absolutely necessary because of an immediate safety concern, do not stop in avalanche zones and always obey rules posted on signs in the area. You may need tire chains or specialized snow tires for icier routes. Local signs should help you determine what precautions to take, and many areas have a transportation radio station that you can tune into for updates on traffic and road conditions in the area.
Tip #4: Always Keep at Least a Half Tank of Gas
During the winter season, it is in your best interest to always maintain at least a half tank of gas while driving on the roadways. You will also want to ensure that you are using correctly blended fuel to keep the fuel lines from freezing — you may need to mix some anti-gel fuel supplement to your diesel tank in order to prevent freezing. Let us know if you have questions about keeping your fuel tank in optimal conditions through the winter.
Tip #5: Be Careful When Entering and Exiting the Vehicle
Be sure to use three points of contact any time you are entering or exiting your truck. That means having two hands and at least one foot — or two feet and one hand — making contact with the vehicle during the move into or out of the cab. Never jump out of the truck, and don’t try to carry anything out of the cab with you — instead, place it on the floor or seat of the truck and retrieve it once you are safely on the ground or seated in the cab, depending on if you were exiting or entering the vehicle.