It feels like winter just came out of nowhere doesn’t it?
A few seemingly long weeks ago, we were basking in 17-degree weather and sunshine, feeling thankful for the lovely weather that October gifted us.
Now, not so much.
The snow seems to be here to stay, bringing treacherous roads and harsh temperatures to wreak havoc on your vehicle.
Winter driving poses many challenges, and if driving is your job, you know this statement to be true. Even the most experienced truck drivers have a challenging time handling icy roads. Poor visibility and reduced traction render the most experienced with a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel.
However, planning and being prepared are essential for the winter season. Implementing safety tactics for driving in icy conditions will help make this winter a lot smoother.
1. Inspect Your Vehicle
Ensuring your truck is prepared for winter helps avoid any major concerns. Checking the tire pressure, engine oil and antifreeze levels will lay a safe foundation before you hit the road. Check to make sure your windshield washer fluid is topped up and your windshields work effectively. Check to make sure your headlights are bright and haven’t dimmed.
Before you leave, always make sure ice and snow is removed from the top of your truck.
2. Plan Ahead
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Plan your route and know where the truck stops are in case of an emergency. If the roads look especially treacherous, stay off the roads.
3. Drive According to the Conditions
This may seem like common sense, but a lot of accidents are caused by drivers not adjusting their speed when the road conditions are dangerous. When driving on a snow-covered road, you may need to adjust your speed. Driving slower gives you more time to react in case anything goes wrong.
Leave extra space between yourself and the person in front of you. A good tip to remember is that if your truck is starting to ice over, the roads may be getting icy as well. Watch for “water patches” on the road that may appear to be water but are really made of ice.
Most importantly, always pay attention. Focus on the road and the other vehicles around you and never text while you’re driving.
A tip often forgotten is to check the tire spray of the vehicles in front of you. If the cars in front of you have significant water being sprayed, the roads are wet. If there is no tire spray, then the roads may have started to freeze, and you should implement extra caution.
4. Stay in Control
When the weather is cold and the snow is falling, avoid doing anything abruptly. Sudden braking or accelerating could lead to you losing your traction and potentially getting into an accident. Plus, if you brake hastily, it could lead to the car behind you rear-ending you or getting into an accident trying to avoid you. If you must brake abruptly, try and pump the brakes lightly, even though instinct dictates otherwise. Consistency is key in relation to speed, especially on icy roads.
Poor visibility is another issue during poor road conditions. Always make sure you turn on your headlights. Poor visibility can also make it difficult to see traffic lights and signs. Always check before proceeding through an intersection.
5. Pull Over if You Need To
If the roads are beginning to get dangerous, pull over. Find a way to pull off the road safely and wait for the weather to improve.
Bring warm clothes and blankets with you in case of an emergency. Keeping a flashlight, matches, shovel and a health kit in case of emergency.
Be careful when entering and leaving your truck. It’s common for drivers to fall and hurt themselves by underestimating how slippery the roads really are. Take your time and wear boots with a good grip to ensure you don’t fall and wear a high visibility vest when visibility is decreased.
Winter driving safety begins even before you’re out on the roads. At Roma Fuels, we provide total fleet fueling service directly to your location. We also provide an analysis for each truck to ensure that they are running efficiently and are ready for winter. Contact us today for more information or give a call at 1-877-656-4189.