Winter weather can pose a big challenge for professional truck drivers. Driving a big rig can be especially dangerous in snow and ice – all that weight can pick up momentum that is nearly impossible to stop quickly if you lose control. Be sure to remember the following safe driving tips this winter, and remember, if conditions are too bad, you may want to cancel your drive altogether until things clear up.
Pack Cold Weather Essentials
Before you hit the road, gather all the essential supplies you might need if you get into hazardous weather. These include things like extra warm clothes, gloves, a flashlight, rain gear, windshield fluid, blankets, sand or salt, tire chains, jumper cables and snow scrapers, and brushes. You may also want to bring extra food and water in case you get caught in a major backup.
While typically, truck drivers need to get where they are going on a certain timeline, to be safe, you need to slow down in winter weather. The slower you drive, the more time you have to react – whether there is an accident ahead of you or you hit a patch of ice. Go slow and be safe.
Keep a Safe Following Distance
You always want to keep some space between your rig and the vehicles in front of you, but in hazardous conditions, you may want to double that space. That will again give you more time to stop or maneuver if something unexpected happens ahead.
Watch out for Bridges and Black Ice
Truck drivers need to be especially careful on bridges, overpasses, and other elevated surfaces because the cold air underneath them causes them to freeze faster than normal roadways. Black ice, which is virtually invisible and just looks like a wet road, is a common winter hazard. Note that when there is no spray coming off the road from the vehicles driving in front of you, that may be a sign of black ice.
Accelerate and Brake Slowly
Sudden movements are your enemy when you are driving an 80,000 lb. 18-wheeler. Be sure to accelerate slowly, and, if you don’t have ABS brakes, gently pump the brakes to slow to a stop. Jamming on the brakes could put you into a dangerous skid.
Check out J-Tech!
Get ready to become a road warrior. Whether you are interested in becoming a Diesel Technician, a Commercial Truck Driver, or an Automotive Technician, J-Tech Institute can provide you with the training you need to jumpstart your career. Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule your visit to our 168,000 square foot facility in Jacksonville, FL.