Unusually heavy traffic is inevitable during the holiday season. Heavy traffic not only causes vehicles to constantly stop and go, but many drivers tend to grow impatient, increasing the likelihood of accidents by changing lanes often, failing to keep safe distance, and sometimes even cutting in front of fully loaded trucks. Crowded roads coupled with bad weather conditions like snow, ice, hail, or rain can impact a driver’s visibility. This can cause roads to become slippery and further contribute to a greater chance of an accident.
While we are proud to have some of the best driving professionals out there, it never hurts to freshen up on some critical safety practices to help face the extra drivers and the freezing temperatures during the holiday season. Safety is top priority for Oakley Transport, and there’s no better time than now to put your best safety methods into practice.
Driving a tractor-trailer during the holiday season demands more than just good maneuvering and safe speeds—it requires forethought and preparation. Seasoned drivers implement preventative safety skills for driving in poor conditions, keep a safe zone, and have the foresight to know when it’s time to take a break and get off the road. Follow these 5 quick tips this season to help keep yourself and the drivers around you safe.
Because winter weather causes increased unpredictability on the road, it’s best that you and your rig are ready for anything. It is always important to check your truck before leaving the terminal, but this time of year make sure to set aside a little extra time to be extremely thorough to ensure that the defroster, heater and wipers are working properly. If need be, dislodge snow from your windshield, windows, hood, roof, and lights. Ensure your truck, tires, breaks, APU, trailers, or tankers are in pristine condition.
Slow Down and Keep a Safe Zone
Driving at the speed limit may be legal but is often too fast for a crowded roadway or poor road conditions. It’s important to be prepared to slow down in response to changes on the road. Slowing down offers time to take corrective action and respond to erratic drivers, stop-and-go traffic, bad weather conditions, and poor visibility.
Take as much time as necessary. Don’t hurry and make sure to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicles in front of and beside your truck when possible. Find a safe way to get away from the pack and travel alone with the goal being to maximize the distance around your vehicle.
Impatient holiday drivers may indulge in road rage behaviors, like tailgating, weaving between lanes, cutting off, break-checking, or otherwise harassing other drivers—this puts themselves and others at risk for accidents. Road rage is a serious threat to safe driving. Be sure to stay calm and keep a level head. Don’t let their anger control your driving. De-escalate road rage situations by increasing the distance between yourself and angry drivers. You may even want to add a little more distance by taking a break.
Outside of taking mandatory breaks, be sure to take additional breaks if you are feeling frustrated or sleepy. Always prioritize your safety and the safety of the other motorists.
If the weather is so severe that you need to get off the road, find a place to get off the road safely and wait until conditions are safe. Make sure not to stop on the shoulder of the road, especially in low visibility situations. Other vehicles can mistake your position for being on the road and as a result, may slam into the back of your rig.
Road conditions can rapidly change. Be prepared for a variety of potential emergency situations. Stock your cab with water, snacks, a first aid kit, a change of clothes, and blankets so you can comfortably and safely weather unexpected conditions that may require you to pull off the road or wait long periods.