Winter can be a hazardous time to be on the road, even for very experienced drivers out there, as low visibility and poor traction conspire to make handling a large commercial truck quite challenging.
Drivers must adjust their driving in winter weather conditions. Proper maneuvering and braking abilities are crucial, while knowledge of safe driving skills can prevent accidents and save lives.
Also, drivers who take preventative action before they go on the road are more prone to get through the season with minimal issues. To help stay safe this winter, we have cobbled together a handful of suggestions for those who drive commercial vehicles in the winter.
Give Yourself Extra Space
The length of the road it takes to stop in wet conditions is twice as long as in dry conditions, and on icy pavement, it’s nearly ten times as long! It’s critical to leave a lot of room between your vehicle and the one in front of it so you have enough space to brake or move out of the way in emergency situations.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Most accidents happen because drivers don’t modify their speed based on the road conditions. If you are driving on a snow-covered road, you have to compensate for bad traction by decreasing your speed. Also, going slow will provide you with more time to react if something terrible happens.
In cold weather, it’s also a good idea to avoid taking abrupt action, such as braking quickly, rapid acceleration, and changing lanes quickly. If you have to suddenly decrease speed on a road with poor traction, gently pump your brakes. The important thing is to sustain consistent speed and steer clear of doing anything that decreases the traction between your vehicle and the road.
Keep an Emergency Kit
To be prepared for a breakdown in the winter, you should have an emergency kit that goes beyond the standard roadside safety kit. Make sure that you always have extra warm clothes and blankets with you during the winter. If you are taking a long trip, make sure you have a flashlight, shovel, matches, a bag of sand and other road safety measures. Ensure you have access to roadside assistance if you get stuck out on the road.
Be Prepared for Mountain Conditions
In winter, the conditions in high elevations can quickly become hazardous. When driving on high ridges and mountainous areas, be prepared for wind gusts and the sudden appearance of large, heavy vehicles. Watch out for melting or hard-packed snow and powerful side winds. Spend as little time as possible in avalanche zones and always follow posted guidelines. Snow tires may be necessary for particularly treacherous routes. Road signage should indicate potentially hazardous conditions, and most states have a highway radio station for reports on traffic, weather, and road conditions.
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At NSC, we often connect folks to great opportunities in commercial truck driving. Please contact us today to find out how we can connect you to best-fit driving opportunities.