By Steve Binkley,
Often, I find myself having to drive in weather conditions less than desirable. Rain, sleet, snow, and ice can make for an incredibly stressful trip. Then I happen to pass or get passed by the “big” truck, the eighteen-wheeler, suffer through the splashback and realize, this could be worse, I could be driving the tractor-trailer in these adverse driving conditions.
How do these truck drivers do it? Driving a 72ft vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000lbs in treacherous conditions sounds intimidating. Navigating safely relies on common sense, but it’s equally important to offer effective training and consistent reminders to drivers. This ensures they are well-prepared for various conditions. Let us review some of these winter driving tips for drivers.
- Inspect the truck thoroughly before beginning your trip.
- Carry the right equipment such as gloves, flashlights, warm clothing, blankets, sand, chains, wiper fluid, jumper cables, extra food, and water.
- Know the weather forecast so you can be prepared.
- Keep a clear windshield so you can see the big picture.
- Slow down in adverse driving conditions to give yourself more time to react.
- Maintain a safe following distance, making sure you have time to stop.
- Keep in constant control of the steering wheel with both hands.
- Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze first so be prepared to slow down when approaching bridges and overpasses that can have black ice.
- Watch out for black patches on the road as it may be black ice, which is slick and dangerous.
- Brake and accelerate slowly, do not “jab” the brake, and when taking off accelerate slowly to keep from spinning the tires.
- Know when to stop driving.
Winter driving can be dangerous. Being prepared and knowing what steps to take when the time happens can help drivers avoid accidents and can prevent injuries and fatalities. As a motor carrier let us make this training a priority this winter.