Written by Jeff Whitehouse, Driver Trainer Coordinator

Winter is a favorite time of year for many people. There are many days when the snow highlights the trees and landscape. It’s the time of year that many people start thinking about the holidays and listen to Christmas music. Well, that type of weather is quickly approaching and, in some regions, has already arrived.  

For many people in the transportation industry, winter is not their favorite time of the year. Truck drivers understand that many challenges come with the winter weather patterns. So, I would like to remind us of some adverse weather driving tips. An attempt to cover every tip would initiate the writing of a novel, so I will stick with the basics.

Preparation:

  • Plan your route before you start driving.
  • Check resources to make sure there are no road closings along your route.
  • Leave on time or a little early if possible, to allow plenty of time to make needed adjustments.
  • Pack extra clothes, blankets, gloves, food, water, and other supplies in case you find yourself in an emergency and do not have access to necessities for an extended period.
  • Check your equipment.
  • Make sure all tires are in good condition and have proper tread depth.
  • Top off your windshield wiper fluid.
  • Keep extra de-ice grade windshield wiper fluid in your storage area.

While Driving:

Situational awareness is always crucial. 

  • It’s hard to tell when roads make the transition from wet to frozen. Watch other vehicles and notice when the wet spray (rooster tails) from their tires disappears. This is a good indication that the water is turning to ice. 
  • Never use cruise control in adverse weather conditions.  
  • Maintain tire traction on the road.  
  • Increase your following distance and eye lead time to increase the time you have to make good decisions. Remember space plus visibility equals time.
  • Keep your headlights on to make sure others see you. 
  • If ice accumulates on your windshield wipers, find a safe spot to stop and clean them. Putting your sun visors down can help your defrost vents keep your windshield clear.  
  • Make good decisions about when it is safe to drive and when it is safer to get off the road.  Appointments can be adjusted, and routes can be changed. You are the most valuable thing on the road and your family and co-workers want you to come home safe and healthy.

These are just a few basic tips to help with safety during the winter months of the year. So, go and safely enjoy the beauty of the season while keeping yourself and others out of harm’s way.

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