A truck driver’s first trip through a snow or ice storm can be an extremely intimidating experience...there's not doubt about that.
We've seen some crazy winter weather lately and it's never a bad time to take a look at some winter driving tips for navigating the snow and ice. For the lucky drivers that spend most of their time driving in southern states, winter weather will not cause many problems. But for the truckers that drive routes across the country through the snow laden states, they’ll have to start putting their winter driving techniques to use.
8 Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers
- Clear off all windows, mirrors, and exterior lights completely before driving. If snow or ice builds up while you drive, make sure to pull over and take a few minutes to clean everything off again.
- Keep tires and brakes in good condition. Tires should be properly inflated and brakes should be correctly working.
- Maintain a sufficient following distance from all vehicles and continue a safe speed that gives you plenty of time to react.
- Plan your route. Make sure you know what types of roads you will be facing and that your vehicle is properly equipped to handle these roads.
- Check cross-traffic prior to reaching and traveling through an intersection to help avoid collisions.
- Do not drive if you feel fatigued. Your ability to properly react to your environment will weaken with fatigue, diminishing your ability to drive as safely as possible.
- Here's a nifty tip: watch the tire spray. If there's a lot of spray coming off others' tires, the roads are wet. If there's not as much spray but the roads look wet, take caution because they're beginning to freeze. And if the roads look wet but you don't see much spray, you're on ice, so be careful.
- Don’t push your truck or yourself to do more than you can in unsafe conditions. If snow drifts are so bad you can’t see the road or ice is so thick you cannot stop properly, consider stopping the truck at a safe area until conditions get better.
Winter Driving Necessities for Truckers
Aside from driving techniques, make sure you have proper attire for the weather as well. Be prepared with the right shoes, socks, and winter-ware like jackets, gloves, and hats. It's always a good idea to have an emergency kit handy with special winter tools, like plenty of blankets, non-perishable food, a power source, and a first aid kit. It can also never hurt to have some tire chains, cat litter and/or sidewalk salt with you in case you get stuck.
Out of all of these guidelines, the most important tip we can give any trucker when it comes to driving in the winter is that no load is worth your life or the lives of others. If you are on dangerous roadways, the safest thing for you to do is find a safe place to stop and wait it out.
Whether its rain, sleet, ice, heavy winds, or snow, make sure that you get great CDL training that will prepare you to drive in any condition. Winter weather can limit or reduce visibility, decrease traction, and make driving in general much harder than normal. Truck drivers that attend CDL training with Driver Solutions not only learn how to deal with inclement weather driving, but also other important safety skills, like how to drive safely on unsafe bridges.
To get started with a trucking driving school that focuses on teaching safe driving techniques for all seasons, complete the online application to set up a time to speak with a Driver Agent on your trucking career options.