With the winter comes snow, ice, reduced visibility and dangerous drivers. As a truck driver, you need to be ready to protect your truck and yourself on the road. A few changes to your driving and a little preparation can help ensure you have a safe winter trucking season. Below are some of the most helpful winter driving tips for truck drivers.
1) Keep it Slow and Steady
As you know, your truck weighs a lot, especially when it has a full cargo load. This means that it can’t brake very quickly. Try to keep your acceleration and braking as smooth as possible.
Additionally, always leave a buffer zone in front of your truck. If someone slams on their brakes, you want to have plenty of room to stop. It is much better to take your time than slide into the vehicle in front of you.
2) Don’t Rush to Stay on Schedule
Winter truck driving can be dangerous, especially when conditions are slippery. This means that traveling at a safe and comfortable pace is important. However, many truckers feel under pressure from schedules, dispatchers etc. While timeliness is important in this business, it isn’t worth an accident. It is better to be late for a scheduled appointment than to get into a crash.
3) Get Some Chains
It is easy to get stuck when the snow won’t let your tires get enough traction. Tire chains for semi trucks can help with this. They provide extra grip on slippery surfaces. Another option is an Autosock. This alternative to chains is lightweight but highly effective in the snow. Just remember to take your chains or Autosock off before picking up too much speed. These are only for low-speed driving.
4) Check Your Truck Before Starting
Do a once over of your truck before you set out on the road. It is much easier to get stranded in the winter. Turn on your engine and lights and do a walk around of the truck. Make sure that all the lights are on and that everything seems to be running smoothly. Following this, check your wipers briefly. Finally, do a quick braking test before you get onto a public road.
It is much better to find out that your brakes are in poor shape in the parking lot than on the highway. Be mindful of anything that doesn’t sound or feel right.
5) Keep Your Engine Warm
Sometimes starting your engine can be difficult in the winter. Additionally, keeping your engine area warm will help make sure your cab is a comfortable temperature even in freezing weather. Winterfronts can help. These grill covers insulate your engine and help keep everything warm, even on cooler nights. Better yet, you can get a design that makes the front of your truck look cool.
6) Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR)
DOT required, be sure to fill out your DVIR before every trip. Your DVIR is a federally mandated log that details your safety issues and vehicle operations that were observed during vehicle inspections.
7) Idle Your Car
It is common for over-the-road drivers to idle their trucks overnight while they sleep in their bunks. That way, they won’t have any trouble starting it in the morning. However, if you choose to go this route, make sure your car’s fuel is full!
Get Ready for Winter
These tips on truck driving in the snow will help you stay safe during the winter months. Get the accessories you need for a comfortable and safe trucking experience. A little preparation and caution can go a long way to ensuring your truck, your cargo and, most importantly, you are safe this winter.