The biggest rule to understand about winter driving is that most drivers on the road will not know how to drive in snow and ice conditions. This is just one reason why the rates of accidents, injuries and fatalities increases in the winter months – it’s not how well you can handle your rig, it’s watching out for the unexpected idiotic driver who comes out of nowhere leaving you with nowhere to go…..SMASH!
Being winter, its cold so keeping warm becomes important – being continuously cold will affect your driving comfort and your ability to maintain concentration. In case of breakdown, staying warm is essential especially if you are without the ability to generate heat within the cab. Make sure you have several; essentials on hand, including a good quality, insulated winter coat, most of the heat escaping from your body is from your head, so a good hat is needed plus extra sets of boots/shoes, woolly socks (go for wool mix in winter for the warmth) plus gloves. You need two sets in case one gets wet – if you get wet, you get cold fast so having dry clothing is essential to maintain warmth.
Don’t forget extra food and water plus you should include a couple of sterno cans for heat. If you get stuck, kitty litter is a great way to get some traction under the tires. You also need a couple of heavy duty flashlights and plenty of batteries for them. If you have winter tire chains, use them especially if the state you are in makes them mandatory.
Get your semi tractor trailer serviced for winter – ensure you have a good set of quality windshield wipers fitted and are topped up with de-icer. For your inside windshield, you need a good, clear air flow from the defroster so keep the dash vents free of paper and obstruction so they blow good.
When driving in winter, you need to increase your stopping distances across the board and typically, this means reducing speed. Don’t let tail-gating truckers intimidate you and go at the speed you feel is safe for the road conditions you are encountering. This requires you to have a good, cool head and to exercise self-discipline, including knowing when to pull over and get off the road completely if conditions are not safe. In fact, a sign of a good trucker is one who knows when it is the right thing to pull off the road and park up!
Remember the rule, “Ice, No Dice” – if the road is untreated and temperatures have fallen below zero, it’s time to get off the road. Driving on ice is a surefire way to ending up in the median. Always remember that bridges will tend to freeze before the rest of the road does, and whenever you encounter icy conditions, drop your revs by around 100 to avoid wheel spin.
We found a good blog post with specialist tips and practical situational advice at Life As A Trucker – check it out and tell them TruckertoTrucker sent you.