Nothing can raise the hairs on a driver’s neck like several hundred tons of trailer taking control of a rig on a winter road. Icy conditions, poor driving from other vehicles and sudden changes in weather can all have an adverse effect on a rig’s behavior. With a few tips and reminders about winter road condition habits, a driver can keep themselves safe and on the road when others are burning time on the side of the road or in the repair yard.
Be a Defensive Driver
It stands to reason that no matter how careful and mindful you are of the road and winter conditions, the driver next to you hasn’t a clue about paying attention to winter driving tips. Greenhorn truck drivers, small box trucks, and those guys with a brand new four wheel drive pick-up always seem to think they have a better understanding of the road during icy weather than anyone else. Keep a close eye ahead of you, to the sides, and in your rear mirror for drivers exhibiting fool hearty behavior and keep your distance. Be over cautious when winter weather sets in, and always be prepared for the other driver to do something stupid.
Plan Your Trip
Keep up to date on shifting weather patterns and be ready to adjust your route accordingly. The initial route may have shaved a few hours off your drive time, but even a light dusting can create backups on the highways. Be prepared to run secondary roads when available, and keep the radio on. Vehicle pile ups can happen even after a storm has passed, so be ready to skirt them as well.
Keep Up With Inspections
A good truck driver inspects their rig every chance they can, and a great driver inspects even when it’s 20 below outside. Things are more likely to go wrong when the weather gets frigid, so keep up the routine of pre-trip and enroute walk-throughs to ensure everything is ship shape. Knowing your rig’s condition and capabilities will give you that much more information when deciding on how best to handle winter weather on the road.
Keep the Proper Gear Stowed
When cold weather hits, be sure to have an expanded emergency kit to handle whatever Mother Nature wants to throw your way. Have extra bedding in case of snow ins, as well as extra socks and clothes for when yours get wet. A warm change of clothes can do wonders. The same can be said for a good pair of dry boots with solid treads. Round out your preparedness kit with extra anti-gel, flashlights, batteries, food and drink items, and anything else you can use to stay comfortable.
Winter can be a bear, but paying attention to winter driving tips can make it more manageable. Stay safe, and stay focused.