Sometimes the snow passes over, and sometimes it sticks—but even during a relatively mild winter, the roads turn into a minefield of added obstacles. Sub-zero temperatures cause icy conditions, warm days turn the existing snow into slush, and all the while additional potholes are forming from the unfreezing and refreezing of the roads.
What Truckers Can Do to Drive Safely in the Winter
Smaller cars may be at risk of crashes due to lost control and lightweight vehicles, but a trucker skidding out of control is likely to have fatal effects. Here are just a few things truckers can do to help keep everyone on the roads safe this winter:
- Extra inspections. While it illegal for a trucker to skip his required pre-trip inspection, some only take the minimum necessary precautions when performing checks. For instance, a trucker may check the pressure of the tires, but may not notice unsafe wear or tearing—especially if temperatures have dropped and the driver is eager to get back in the cab.
- Use the CB. Listening to traffic and weather reports can make for a boring ride, but they allow a driver to know ahead of time what conditions they are headed into. Truckers can also get real-time updates by communicating with other drivers over citizen's band (CB) radio, making them better prepared for accidents, slowed traffic, diversions and road closures, or icy road conditions.
- Wear appropriate footwear. Getting in and out of the rig is treacherous in the winter months, and lack of traction on the pedals can reduce braking times. Always wear boots or shoes with rough, heavily-treaded soles, taking care to knock snow off before driving to avoid excess water in the footwell.
- Don’t cruise. Many highway traffic studies have confirmed that cruise control is dangerous for big-rigs. While it may help save on gas, cruise control takes control away from the driver, making it difficult for him to stop in time to avoid a crash. Cruise control also maintains speed without any input from the trucker, making it more likely that a trucker will become drowsy or succumb to “highway hypnosis.”
- Save time. A trucker’s route may be meticulously planned, but it will almost always be modified due to construction or sudden changes in conditions. In order to decrease stress and avoid speeding, truckers should allow extra time for delays while calculating their distances and arrival times.
Do you have any safety tips you have learned through years of winter driving? Share this link on Facebook and add your comments so that your friends and loved ones can stay safe over the holidays.