In a previous post entitled “What New Truck Drivers Can Expect”, we talked a little bit about the learning curve that is required for new drivers, since handling a massive truck is much different than a small car.
This can be even trickier for a driver venturing out into winter weather for the first time. Even the most experienced truck drivers meet challenges due to icy roads and weather that reduces visibility. Here are some top winter driving tips to share with your drivers, compiled by experienced truck drivers and fleet managers.
Check your vehicle before each trip. Do a visual, hands-on inspection of your entire vehicle, cleaning away all snow and ice. Particular areas you should check at the hood, roof, lights and windows. Snow in any of these areas decreases your visibility. Also, check the forecast as far into your trip as possible, so you can prepare for or avoid harsh areas.
Carry a winter driving kit. Just a few things you should include are extra (warm) clothing, a flashlight and batteries, a blanket, non-perishable food and water, a first aid kit, and a cell phone & charger.
Accelerate, drive, and brake slower than normally. Increase your following distance while driving, and make all lane changes gently. Avoid sudden stops and starts. If you need to slow down quickly, try lightly pumping your brakes using just the ball of your food, keeping your heel on the floor.
Hold your steering wheel with confidence and control. Sudden, sharp movements can quickly cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Grip your steering wheel steadily and with a strong arm through ruts in the road, heavy wind, and on ice.
Watch carefully for black ice. Black ice often makes the road surface look slightly wet, like a water puddle. This makes it dangerously deceptive. If you see an area like this, slow down as much as possible and change lanes gently, if possible.
Be aware of weather changes when driving in mountains. Be ready for wind gusts in exposed areas and slow down coming around curves, as there is more of a chance of encountering emergency vehicles and snowplows in snowy weather.
Experienced truck drivers often advise that when conditions get bad to just stop driving if you feel uncomfortable. At Tri-State Insurance Agency, we understand the importance of driver safety, and we also understand how important the transportation industry is to our economy, and the exposures those in the various segments face on and off the road. We specialize in providing insurance programs for a variety of transportation businesses including trucking customers, public transport (buses, limousines, paratransit) and commercial auto fleets. Give our professionals a call at (888) 990-0526 for more information.