Winter Weather Driving
Driving in the wintertime is a challenge, even for the most skilled and experienced truck drivers. Between poor road conditions due to weather and the influx of other drivers on the road there are different hazards for divers to be aware of.
Our best advice to you would have to be to slow down and drive offensively, constantly being aware of your surroundings. Being aware of the other drivers on the road, and anticipating their actions will allow you to have a leg up on the hazards around you. Slowing down will allow for more reaction time when hazards do present themselves.
Below you will find a few tips and tricks that will help with being safer during the winter!
Complete Defensive Driving Training
Defensive driving training is key for every single driver, whether that be commercial vehicle driver or for the brand new driver who just got their license. Defensive Driving Principles for the Commercial Driver will teach drivers in the definition of SAFER, how to identify hazards, prepare for the actions of others on the road, and react to scenarios. Front Range Compliance offers Defensive Driving both in-person and online.
Conduct comprehensive pre-trip inspections
Every time a vehicle is used the driver should be conducting pre and post-trip inspections. During the winter, this seemingly mundane task couldn't be more important. Make sure that your vehicle is in ideal condition before you set out on the road. Close attention should be paid to the tire pressure and fluid levels. Cold weather can cause a significant decrease in tire pressure, which will make your semi truck tires less stable on the road. By taking the time to take a tire pressure reading, you can help to mitigate dangerous driving conditions.
Front Range Compliance also offers Pre/Post Inspection Trip Training in-person and online through DOT University to ensure drivers are completing proper pre/post trip inspections.
Pack a winter driving kit
Ever heard the phrase, "better safe than sorry,"? In the winter months, if your vehicle breaks down or you end up stuck on the side of the road, you will be really thankful to have your winter driving kit.
Your winter driving kit should include the following items:
Non-perishable food and water
A bag of sand or salt
Chains (in areas requiring them – such as mountain passes, etc.)
Extra washer fluid
A cell phone charger
A windshield scraper and brush
Be sure to check before you head out on the road and make sure the kit is packed in a secure place within your vehicle.
Brake and accelerate slowly
Winter driving conditions changes how your vehicle handles the road. It can make it more difficult for you to control the vehicle on the road, as your tires lose traction, which is why you as the driver needs to be more cautious driving on winter roads. Ensure that you brake slowly when coming to a stop or slowing down and accelerate with caution. You should also be cautious in areas where you might experience wind shear and when making turns to avoid oversteering in conditions where it can be difficult to see over short distances.
Allow extra space between vehicles
Vehicle collisions are extremely common in the winter season due to the slippery conditions of the roads, and so you should make sure you have extra space between your vehicle and the ones directly in front of you. Ideally, you would like to keep a good distance between your vehicle and the vehicle behind you, but you do not have control over them. Instead just be aware of their position and pay attention to the road in front of you. Try to leave extra room in all driving environments, from parking lots to highways, to avoid a collision.
Slow down and take your time this winter season! Stay off the radar!!
Make sure to check out our online DOT Training, DOT University! We currently are offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months we plan on releasing Designated Employer Representative, and Appendix A.
Until then, check out our other blogs or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to be the first to know when new classes are made available or for other updates like this! You can also opt-in to our newsletter for exclusive offers, regulation changes, and industry news!