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7 Truck Driver Safety Tips For Dangerous Winter Conditions

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018
winter driving tips for tucker safety

Getting advanced reports of the weather conditions and how they will affect traveling on the road is invaluable information for all truck drivers. Traveling in inclement weather is a challenge, even for experienced professionals. Other’s on the road expect truckers to be conscious of the conditions and drive more cautiously. Doing this can save lives and help ease stress levels on the road for everyone. Here are seven winter safety tips for truck drivers.

Never push the limits of your equipment

Understanding the limits that your equipment can handle is important. This is one of the best ways to remain safe on the road. Every object has a limit, so don’t be overconfident by thinking you or your equipment are invincible. You may need to compensate for poor traction by reducing your driving speed, for example. Going slower gives you more reaction time if there’s trouble ahead.

Warm up the windshield before cleaning it

It’s not a simple task to clean a dirty windshield on a cold winter day. First, turn the defroster on high for a minute to warm the glass. The alcohol inside the window fluid cleaner evaporate fasts, so warming the windshield eliminates any chance of the other liquid ingredients freezing. Some truckers will pour a few ounces of brake antifreeze fluid inside the windshield cleaning solution. This helps to keep it warm once the cleanser is put onto the glass.

Carry a hammer & putty knife

Commercial truck air tanks can freeze rapidly. It is important to check them periodically to make sure snow or ice hasn’t accumulated. This rule especially holds true if you have been driving for a period of time during a snowstorm. Inexperienced truck drivers believe the heat from the engine will melt away the snow from the air tanks, but this is a false assumption. Compressed air tanks are naturally cooler, so the snow could transform into ice. A hammer and putty knife will help to remove ice and snow without damaging the tanks.

Check the trailer tires

It’s important to check the condition of your trailer tires as you travel in inclement weather. Inspect the wheels to make sure they can still turn adequately. If they cannot, the brakes might be frozen. There are two possible causes for this to happen: a frozen valve or brake shoes that have frozen to the drums.

A frozen valve can be restored by pouring methyl hydrate through the system. To remove the frozen brake shoe away from the drum, you must go underneath the cab. Lightly tap on the drum until the red button is pushed in. This task can be accomplished with the use of a hammer. To diagnose this issue, you should check to see if the trailer tires aired up or if the back wheels aren’t turning properly.

Check the taillights

After a brief or lengthly rest stop, make sure to clean off your taillights and license plate to make them visible for other drivers in a snowstorm. Too often, tailwinds will cause them to be covered in snow. Try to refrain from doing any sudden movements like braking, quickly accelerating, or cornering, even if your tailights are clean. The key to driving in bad weather is maintaining a consistent speed at a safe distance from other vehicles.

Stay parked

If you become too cautious or nervous to drive your truck in bad weather, staying parked until the conditions get better may be best. A good rule of thumb for winter driving is to always be prepared for the worst. Nervous truck drivers can be just as dangerous as careless drivers that fail to respect the laws of the road. Most accidents occur because the truck driver didn’t adjust their driving speed to the treacherous weather conditions. Contact your dispatch operator if cannot continue on your delivery and have them reschedule it for the next day to avoid accidents.

Carry a bag of cat litter

The warm tires of a commercial truck can quickly turn snow into a patch of ice in no time. Experienced truck drivers will store a bag of kitty litter inside the cab and throw some underneath their tires to gain extra traction if they get stuck. This course of action is environmentally safe and an easy way of getting where you need to go on time.

Prevent slips and falls

Too many injuries have occurred because truck drivers have slipped off the cab or their trailer in bad weather conditions. A flatbed trailer safety ladder can prevent these types of injuries when loading or unloading your trailer. Unlike standard ladders, this product securely hooks onto the trailer to provide strong, steady support. It will not blow over in the wind and can be used on flatbed trailers, vans, and straight trucks. The non-skid steps will prevent you from slipping and let you have better access to your loads, even on snowy days.

Get the Deckmate ladder from Gateway Supply

Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas is the United States distributor of the Deckmate Ladder. Contact us at (806) 665-7990 with any question you have or Send Us an email for more information. This ladder is tested to work in windy, rainy, and dry conditions to ensure that it does not fail and is used by government agencies, the mining industry, and trucker drivers throughout the country.