Slick roads, harsh storms and extra traffic are inevitable during the holiday season and can challenge even the most seasoned drivers. 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 freezing temperatures over the next few months. 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 in adverse weather conditions 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, they keep a safe zone, and they have the foresight to know when it’s time to take a break and get off the road. Follow these 5 quick tips this winter 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 and windows, hood, roof, and lights. Ensure your truck, APU, trailers or tankers are in pristine condition to handle the weather.
Slow Down and Keep a Safe Zone
Driving at the speed limit may be legal, but is often too fast for snow-covered or icy road conditions. 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.
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.
Try to avoid overusing your foot brake, unless the entire unit is absolutely ‘straight’. When the entire unit isn’t straight the trailer can slide, causing you to spin.
Extra weight over the drive tires will aid with traction. Good quality lug tires, with the proper tire pressure, are essential for good traction for the best safe winter driving. Another tip is to always carry a bag of kitty litter as an environmentally friendly and effective method for gaining traction if you park on a patch of ice and get stuck.