Driving at night - during any time of the year - brings with it a number of challenges and risks that do not exist during the day. That's especially true during the winter, when everyday drivers and pro haulers alike face unique issues that create difficult driving conditions even at the best of times.
For that reason, truckers may need to brush up on the best ways to handle their responsibilities behind the wheel during long, cold winter nights. Here are just a few tips:
1) Keep yourself as visible as possible
It should go without saying that you need to make sure all your lights work at night, but in winter conditions that could include snow and ice, it's even more critical, according to Pellman's Automotive. When snow falls or piles up, you need to keep all lights clear, and the same is true of reflective surfaces. This likely requires more frequent stops, but it's vital to keeping yourself and fellow commuters safe.
2) Be aware of eye strain
Your eyes can get tire out more quickly at night as your headlights reflect off snow and ice, not to mention the light from oncoming traffic, Pellman's Automotive advised. If you feel your eyes getting strained, it may be a good idea to pull over for a while until you can re-acclimate.
3) Give everyone plenty of space
You never know when snow and black ice, among other tricky road conditions, are going to make driving more difficult for you or the motorists around you, according to Atlanta Insurance. As a consequence, you would be wise to allow for plenty of following distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, as well as striving to avoid getting into clusters of vehicles traveling at roughly the same rate of speed.
4) Don't assume you can power through bad weather
Good trucking is all about hitting deadlines and being where you need to be on time, if not early, Atlanta Insurance cautioned. However, sometimes road conditions in winter preclude you from being able to do so. If the snow starts to fall or the wind starts to pick up, it's better to find the nearest place to park and wait for the problems to pass.
5) Keep your wipers in good shape
It can be difficult to predict exactly when harsh weather can arise, but you need to be prepared in case it does, according to Schuerman Law. That includes having windshield wipers that are up to the task of clearing heavy, wet snow off your windshield as soon as they're needed. If you don't, you may put yourself and others at greater risk.
6) Be aware of animal behaviors
There are plenty of animals that may come out at night over the winter that would be less active at other times of year, Schuerman Law warned. For that reason, any time you pass a sign warning of deer crossings or other animals, be on high alert for the possibility that wildlife may be in or near the roadway.
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