Winter can be a dangerous time to be on the roadways, even for the most experienced drivers out there. However, if you take action before winter weather hits, you're more likely to sail through the season with no problem. To help you prepare to stay safe this winter, we have consulted experienced truck drivers and fleet managers for their top winter driving tips for heavy duty trucks and commercial vehicles:
poor traction by increasing following distance, driving slower, and making all
changes gently. A slower speed gives you more time to react if something occurs
in the roadway ahead. Extra patience and awareness of other drivers can go a
long way this time of year.
4. Brake and accelerate
stops and starts in icy or rainy weather. If you need to slow down quickly in
slippery conditions, try lightly pumping your brakes using just the ball of
your foot, keeping your heel on the floor. This reduces your chance of locking
your tires and losing control of your vehicle.
yourself enough room to move out of harm's way in a sudden emergency, increase
the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. The
stopping distance required on ice at 0°F is twice the amount required at 32°F.
Normal following distances should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on
icy, slippery surfaces.
You may need
to take evasive action to avoid a collision. At speeds above 25 mph, gentle
deceleration and steering around obstacles is better than braking alone because
less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In
slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of control. The additional
distance you have been keeping between other vehicles should give you more time
to see and maneuver around obstacles and road hazards.
movements can quickly cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Grip your
stearing wheel steadily and with a strong arm through ruts in the road, heavy
wind, and on ice. Snowy or icy surfaces make steering difficult and require
smooth, careful, precise movements of the steering wheel. Sudden movements of
the steering wheel and excessive acceleration over ruts can cause your vehicle
to go into a skid. Watch out for your trailer pushing you on curves and turns.
Black ice is a
thin layer of transparent ice that forms when the temperature is close to
freezing. Black ice often makes the road surface look slightly wet like a water
puddle, making it dangerously deceptive. Shaded spots, bridges, overpasses and
intersections are areas where ice is likely to form first or be the most
slippery. Hazardous icy road conditions can sneak up on you, so when the
temperature gets close to freezing (below 40°F) watch out for these clues:
weather in winter can be severe and can change rapidly. Be ready for wind gusts
in exposed positions and be aware of emergency vehicles and snowplows. Watch
for melting or hard-packed snow and strong side winds as these can also cause a
loss of control. If at all possible, do not stop in avalanche zones and always
obey posted rules. Tire chains or snow tires may be required for certain
routes. Local signage should indicate this and most states have a
transportation radio station you can monitor with traffic and road condition
updates in your trip area.
Remember: Don't ask your truck to do more than it can.
If you don't feel comfortable driving for any reason, DON'T DRIVE!