Even for the most experienced truck driver, driving in snow and foul weather is a challenge. The pressure of completing a job on time can put yourself and your cargo at risk. Knowing safe winter trucking safety skills, creating a bad weather precheck and carrying emergency supplies can protect your cargo, job and your life. Here are a few safety reminders:
Slow Down When Driving
At fault accidents are mostly due to excessive speed. Driving at the speed limit may be legal but is often too fast for snow covered or icy road conditions. Take as much time as necessary. This rule should ALWAYS be at the top of any winter trucking safety tips list.
Don’t Travel as Part of a Pack
Traffic tends to move in ‘packs’ on the highway. Find a safe way to get away from the pack and travel alone, with the goal being to maximize the distance around your vehicle.
Don’t follow the taillights of the vehicle ahead
When the snow is so heavy that visibility is low, seeing the taillights of the vehicle ahead means you’re following too closely.
Never Push Beyond the Limit of Your Equipment
Knowing what your equipment can handle is very important. It’s one of the best ways to maintain winter trucking safety.
Carry a Bag of Kitty Litter
Warm tires can turn that snow you parked on into a patch of ice in a short time. Throwing kitty litter under your tires is a good and environmentally safe way to get that little bit of extra traction needed to get you going.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Trailer Tires
Check your trailer tires often, especially when you’ve just hooked up to a trailer. Remember, when the last driver dropped that trailer the brakes were warm. Make sure the wheels are turning.
Essential Winter Trucking Safety Supplies
There are some winter driving essentials all professional truckers should bring along if they anticipate snow or winter driving conditions. It’s a good idea to have the following with you:
- Warm clothing, winter jacket, hat, lined gloves/mitts, socks
- Lined waterproof, winter boots
- Extra blankets and/or sleeping bag
- Food (dried foods/water supply)
- Propane heater and lighter
- Fuel conditioner
- Methyl hydrate (for fuel & air lines)
- Extra fuel filters and wrench
- Windshield washer fluid
- Tire chains
- Cell phone and charger
- Truck should be outfitted with good quality ‘lug’ tires/winter tires
It is extremely important to travel at a speed that is appropriate for bad weather conditions. Don’t hit the road before checking to be sure the truck is equipped with necessary supplies. If you’re nervous about driving in bad weather, stay parked. Do what you need to, in order to stay safe and keep others safe. WINTER TRUCKING SAFETY ALWAYS TAKES PRIORITY.