Driving a truck during the winter has unique challenges requiring specialized knowledge and abilities.
Both private and commercial vehicles struggle enough in the winter. Due to the cold and snowy conditions, traffic accidents are more likely. The risks of getting into a traffic accident or being harmed in a collision with another vehicle increase in the winter.
In this piece, we’ll discuss the most difficult aspects of driving in the winter and provide winter driving safety advice for truck drivers in these conditions.
Risky winter driving hazards for truckers
“Severe weather occurrences like heavy precipitation, blizzards, and high winds are estimated to cause an average of 23 percent of all trucking delays. These delays cost the industry almost $3.5 billion annually.“
Truck drivers, particularly those on long hauls, face more significant dangers on the road. Knowing what to avoid is the first step toward avoiding potential pitfalls. The following are some ways winter increases the threat to truck drivers.
- Poor visibility
If severe fog affects visibility, drive carefully and utilize your fog lights. Suppose you’re uncomfortable with the vehicles’ speeds. Ensure the windshield is constantly clear by operating the wipers and de-misting the system.
- Bad Traction
A wet or slick surface makes it difficult for your tires to maintain traction. Once this happens, you’ve lost traction, and the wheels will spin at random.
- Black ice
Black ice is hazardous and may cover roads and make them seem moist to the untrained eye. That’s how semi-trucks brakes failures occur.
- Icy Path
Ice makes driving even more dangerous. It is perilous to drive on icy roads if you are operating a heavy vehicle or attempting to negotiate a steep incline.
- Gusty wind
Harsh winter winds might be powerful enough to move a vehicle. Tall and narrow trucks are more vulnerable to being blown over by strong winds; this includes trucks and 18-wheelers.
- Snowfall and sleet
It’s terrifying when the roads turn icy and snow continues to fall—especially when you can’t see it! Unfortunately, you can assume that bridges, sidewalks, and roads are frozen in this severely cold weather. Though it can be hard to spot, black ice can be dangerous. It’s essential to take trucking preventive maintenance and be extra careful when driving and walking in frigid temperatures.
- Health issues during winter
Vehicles and drivers are susceptible to the harmful effects of cold weather. Flu, sore throat, Norovirus infection, heart attack, Frostbite, asthma, and hypothermia are just a few of the illnesses that may be exacerbated by the cold.
- Truck Parking
In many cases, drivers unable to locate legal parking have no choice except to park illegally or continue their search, which causes them to violate the terms of federal HOS regulations. 70% of drivers have broken HOS regulations to park, and 96% have had to park in non-truck zones.
- Clogged Fuel Filters
When the temperature drops, fuel filters on large trucks may solidify due to condensation. To maintain the filter’s cleanliness, some truck drivers will leave their engines running while at a stop so that the cabin’s warmth can reach the filter.
- Traffic jam
Bad weather isn’t good for drivers. The traffic jams cause lots of starting and stopping, which can be hard for big rigs. That’s a problem because of their weight and inertia. Keeping a good distance is better.
Safety tips for winter driving for truckers
Truck drivers, particularly those on long hauls, face hazardous road conditions in winter driving. Careful driving is vital for truckers when the above factors are present.
In bad weather, particularly on slick roads like those caused by snowfall, you need to adjust how you usually drive.
Professional drivers make a good impression when they know how to stay safe when driving in bad weather.
- Leaving the pack behind and hauling alone.
- When the snow piles up, If you start to feel anxious driving in severe weather, it’s best to remain parked rather than follow the car’s tail lights ahead.
- Always check your taillights and license plate after driving in the snow.
- Always maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, particularly in inclement weather.
- Be as prepared as you can be for everything that can happen.
- Inspect your vehicle thoroughly before using it for hauling.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions by checking forecasts often before setting out.
- Drive at a constant pace and avoid braking abruptly.
- Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you in case of an emergency stop on the ice.
- Use four or five blinks before carefully switching lanes in the winter.
- Keep your windshields clean by using wipers and de-misting systems.
- Take caution getting in and out of the vehicle when truck drivers underestimate how slippery their vehicle’s stairs are and get hurt.
- Avoid accidents by driving more cautiously in stop-and-start traffic and getting your brakes checked before the cold weather.
- Keep an eye out for warning signs indicating something isn’t right.
How ResQ TRX can help truckers
ResQTRX is here for truck drivers, offering expert repair services 24/7 and a mobile tracker app ready to help if something goes wrong. Our app connects drivers directly to repair services and it has real-time tracking. Get in touch to know how it can help your business.
Winter is the most critical time to check your vehicle’s equipment. If you’re hauling a trailer, make sure it works. To avoid freezing, watch your trailer tires.
Winter driving poses considerable obstacles. Towing a trailer requires careful trailer operation. To manage winter road conditions, trailer tires must be monitored.