Winter is Coming
Even though it’s hard to believe, it has, quite literally, already arrived for some of us. Winter driving is not only more challenging, but it’s significantly more dangerous for truck drivers. Snow, slush, ice on the ground. These things may seem trivial, but when you look a the numbers it’s anything but. One in every four accidents in the U.S. are related to weather. Weather-related accidents result in nearly 8,000 deaths per year and 700,000 injuries. When we saw these numbers we were stunned. With all of this in mind, we wanted to take the opportunity to share some safety tips associated with driving a truck on snowy, icy roads. Now, for many of you these will be obvious refreshers. However, it never hurts to freshen up and make sure we all make it through these chilly months.
1. Mind the Gap
As you surely know, when it snows or freezing rain meets the road, every vehicle is prone to slipping and sliding. Make sure you’re lowering your speed and increasing your following distance. That slight adjustment can be just enough to avoid hazards like out-of-control vehicles, ice slicks, snow pileups, and other road hazards.
2. Pump the Brakes
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a professional driver. But, are you a professional braker? Your anti-lock brakes can cause your truck to slide, so be sure to lightly pump your brakes when slowing down or stopping. This will help keep you in control and avoid skidding out on icy roads!
3. Keep Your Eyes on the Gas
Winter weather is a headache for transportation. It can cause lots of hold ups, shut downs, close gas stations and even compromise fuel supply. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on your fuel gauge so that you’re not caught running on fumes in winter weather emergency. Similarly, keep an eye on your phone’s battery to ensure you’re able to keep in touch if necessary.
4. Grab Your Gear
You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got the right gear—extra clothes, food, and safety equipment are a must. We want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible which is why we’ve put together a list of all the essentials you’ll need to keep you warm, safe, and comfortable in the event of a wintery weather hold up. Check back soon for an entire article dedicated to this topic.
5. Spot Black Ice Like A Pro
What do we all know about, but barely ever see? Black ice. It’s an obvious winter danger on the road, and rarely easy to spot… That is unless you know what to look for! If you’re driving and it looks like the road may be wet, but you’re not seeing much spray coming up from the tires—you might be on black ice. If this happens, don’t panic! Just slow down, stay alert and proceed with caution. Remember: While you know these roads better than most people, still be sure to keep an eye out for other drivers who aren’t as experienced with these conditions. Defensive driving is your secret weapon and winter is no different.
Keep On Truckin’!
Well, there you have it. Whether you’ve had decades of experience on the road or are fresh out of school, winter weather is one of the biggest hurdles truckers face every single year. With these 5 simple tips in your back pocket, you’re sure to cruise smoothly onward protecting your life and the lives of everyone on the road during these wintery months. Thank you once again for all the hard work you put in on the roads as a part of Optimum and if you’re not a part of our team yet you can learn more about driving with us here.