According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, members of the trucking industry experienced the most fatalities out of all occupations. That’s why new and experienced truckers cannot afford to take road hazards lightly—especially when winter weather conditions are factored in. Be one step ahead of accidents by following these winter driving safety tips:
Inspect the Vehicle Before Hitting the Road
Performing visual and hands-on inspections can make all the difference. To avoid unexpected delays, make sure that the truck is in good condition before the trip. Check every component—including the wiper blades, tires, lights, brake fluids, and air tanks. Don’t forget to remove ice and snow from crucial areas that may hamper your visibility on the road—especially the windshield, mirrors, and headlamps.
Prepare for an Emergency
An empty winter driving kit turns any situation from bad to worse. Spare yourself from additional hassles by having the following items at hand—non-perishable food and water, first aid kit, cellphone and charger, blanket, flashlight, extra clothing, and spare gloves. Must-haves also include reflective triangles, tire chains, and a bag of sand or salt. Don’t just think about the current weather conditions, brace yourself for the unexpected.
Drive at a Slower Speed
Patience is a must when driving on snow or ice-covered roads. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, speeding 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit is the fifth most frequent driver violation in roadside inspections. Compensate for poor traction by slowing down and minimizing sharp movements. A slower speed will not only give you more time to react, but will also help you to avoid skidding on the road.
Maintain a Safe Driving (and Following) Distance
Giving yourself plenty of safe space will help you to move away from harm. For added safety, keep at least 8 to 10 seconds of following distance during the winter season. Be extra careful when driving near exit ramps and intersections.
Use Your Best Judgment
Never let anxiety cloud your judgment. If you’re stranded on the road, stay inside the vehicle and call for assistance. If weather conditions become severe, don’t push your luck. Sign up for weather alerts and know when it’s best to get off the road.
The roads can be dangerous all year round, but driving conditions are even more challenging for commercial truckers during the winter season. Don’t let the ice and snow get the best of you! Brush up on the essentials by taking a driver safety training program before the winter weather rolls in. Contact 360training.com to learn how you can take truck driver training courses online and on-demand.