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Working over the holidays is rough. Not only on an emotional level but also on a physical level. Not only do you have to be aware of the slippery icy roads, but also of those drivers around you that could be under the influence and driving.
We’ve rounded up some of the most helpful safety tips for driving in severe weather conditions while still having to deliver a load during the holidays. In this post, we will walk you through all of the best tips given by professional truck drivers.
1. Do a vehicle check before hitting the road
Make sure your truck and trailer are not covered in ice and snow before you leave for the job. This includes windows and mirrors. This will ensure that you are able to see while driving, and not endanger the lives of others on the road by not having enough visibility to drive in your lane.
2. Focus on the road ahead
This is one of those obvious things you should do even when you are driving in normal weather conditions. When you are driving in severe weather conditions with snow and ice the danger of not noticing any sudden changes in the road could be the difference between life and death. Always keep your eyes on the road and stay alert at all times.
3. Don’t be in a rush
You should always adhere to the rules of the road and stick to driving speeding limits, but when you are driving in snowy and icy conditions, you should slack a bit down. As visibility could be a problem, you won’t be able to see a car way up ahead and only notice it when it is too late. Ice and snow makes the worst combination and you could easily lose control of the truck when braking suddenly.
4. Don’t be a reckless driver
We know it’s that almost that wonderful time of the year, and you might indulge in a bit of eggnog, but please refrain from doing so when going out on a job. Not only is this against the law, but it will impair your driving ability and endanger the lives of other drivers on the road. The rules of the road require you to be a responsible driver who respects other users of the road and vice versa. Another point worth mentioning is the danger of overtaking other drivers and especially other trucks in severe weather conditions – avoid doing that altogether.
5. Ensure everything is in working order
You have to make sure that the truck’s lights as well as the trailer’s lights are in full working order before you get on the road. This is of utmost importance as this will enable other drivers to see you when you are in front of them. Be sure to do spot checks when stopping for fuel or taking a break to ensure that everything is still in order.
6. Be aware of others
Sometimes, the key in safe driving is in being aware of other drivers. If you are alert and can see when someone is not driving well, you can react accordingly quickly to ensure there are no accidents due to some other reckless driver. Half of the job is being alert at all times, knowing what is going on in front, behind, and beside you.
7. Be prepared
Get enough rest before a long job, make sure you pack enough healthy snacks and food, and plenty of water. Stay hydrated and stay alert. Be sure you are fully prepared for the job and road that is ahead of you, in every possible way. Check that you have a flash light at hand, and that your cab has jumper cables, just in case.
8. Pack extra backup supplies
You never know when an extra bag of sand or salt would come in handy – when driving in snow and ice this is an absolute must. If you find yourself spinning away and stuck in the snow, you can just throw some of the sand or salt at the spot and the texture of the dry salt or sand will enable you to get out of the snow easily. Include extra food and water as well, in case of emergencies. If you don’t have space for it in the cab, keep it in the trailer. You can never be too prepared, and as they say, rather safe than sorry.
9. Early bird catches the worm
In order for you to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams and the like, especially during holidays, the best advice would be to be on the road when no one else is likely to be. If you compromise a little bit on departure time, you are able to take on the job and complete it in a breeze, without having to deal with a ton of other drivers on the road.
10. Keep an eye on the dial and communicate
When driving in severe weather conditions, you should always keep the radio on or check weather apps to see whether there are any dramatic changes in the weather expected. This can prepare you for the worst and you will be able to give it a miss when you hear about it, not getting stuck in a storm is way better than being stranded. Communicate with dispatch and keep them in the know of your progress. Should anything drastic happen, they should have your location and help should be on the way soon.
Driving in harsh weather conditions can be challenging, but, if you keep your wits about you, you should do quite alright. Preparation and awareness is half the battle – remember to stay calm at all times, and be aware of what is happening around you. If you are stopping over, be sure to get more than enough rest as driving in these conditions can be draining, and you would need to go through it all again the next day.
We hope that you have found our tips helpful and that you will enjoy a safe trip on your job in harsh weather conditions during the upcoming holiday season. For some more handy tips and interesting articles, be sure to visit the American Trucker’s Association. We wish you safe travels this upcoming festive season.