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5 tips for safer truck driving this winter

11/18/2019

5 tips for safer truck driving this winter

Although the official start of winter remains a few weeks away, the kind of weather typically associated with it is already arriving in many parts of the country. That means snow and ice on the roads, frigid temperatures, strong winds and more. All of these elements create unique challenges for truckers, and as such, requires an extra degree of readiness.

The following tips will help any driver get from Point A to Point B as safely as possible this winter: 

1) Look your vehicle over before every trip

Truckers should always make a pre-trip inspection, but it's even more important in winter, when ice can form, snow may collect on the top of the trailer, and slush can pile up around wheel wells, among other concerns, according to GPS Trackit. During such an inspection, it may be particularly important to clear off any snow that's blocking your headlights and tail lights, so you can see everything on the road - and other drivers can see you.

2) Give other drivers space

When you're behind a vehicle in traffic, you should give yourself as much room as possible to maneuver, GPS Trackit cautioned. At this time of year, the possibility of a driver stopping short can rise sharply, and if they do, you need to be able to react in a way that avoids an accident. Giving yourself at least several car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you may not always be possible, but you should do it whenever you can.

3) Have emergency supplies on hand

Especially for truckers driving through treacherous areas like mountains, packing an emergency kit is a critical part of staying safe in the winter, according to the Advanced Career Institute. While the odds of getting stuck on an impassable road for days at a time are remote, it's always better to have extra food, water, warm clothes and ways to entertain yourself for worst-case scenarios.

4) Take it slow

Truckers should never speed anyway, but especially when it's cold out, the Advanced Career Institute added. For that reason, truckers must give themselves plenty of time in their days to get to a given destination. For example, if a trip would normally take six hours, plan to make it in seven or eight instead to be sure you can account for as many potential challenges as possible.

And of course, you should always strive to drive around the speed limit, but when inclement weather arrives, or there's a risk of ice forming overnight, you need to slow down even more. It's better to arrive late because you were taking all due caution than to get into an accident.

5) Stay away from other vehicles - if you can

Part and parcel with taking it slow and giving other drivers space, try to avoid getting stuck in "packs" of other vehicles, according to Smart Trucking. No matter how cautious you are, you can't account for how other drivers will handle themselves in difficult driving conditions. As such, make sure to steer clear ofthese vehicle groupings whenever you can.

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