11 December

It’s that time of year again – roads are getting slippery, the temperature is falling, and snow is king; in other words, it’s time for some winter driving tips. So, in order to make this period a bit easier for our colleagues, we compiled a list of essential winter driving tips.

It might be the most wonderful time of the year for some, but for our fellow truckers, it’s kind of the most dangerous time on the job.

Check and double-check your truck

Your truck is your baby, it’s your livelihood, so the first step has to be the inspection. Check the tire pressure, antifreeze and engine oil levels every time you have to go on a long haul. It’s also a good idea to check the lights and the wiper blades. If you know you’ll be driving through some rough areas, it won’t hurt to have a mechanic do a more thorough inspection.

Stay calm

We cannot stress this enough! A lot of winter accidents happen because of sudden actions. Sharp moves cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, so the safest thing is to always do everything calmly and slowly. That goes for both breaking and accelerating, as well as for making turns and changing lanes.

It’s also essential to give yourself enough space so that you have time to break and stop if the road is slippery. And always keep both hands on the steering wheel!

Watch out for black ice

Black ice is often hard to notice because it makes it seem like the road is only wet, but it’s much more dangerous. It forms on the road as a thin, transparent sheet of ice when the temperature is close to freezing.

One way to spot black ice is to pay attention to the tire spray of the vehicles in front of you. If there is a lot of water coming off the tires, it means the road is wet. However, if there isn’t a lot of water coming off and the road still seems pretty wet – you’re dealing with black ice and should be extra cautious.

Defensive driving/maneuvering

Driving in harsh conditions means you have to take extra precautions and safety measures on the road. Driving in poor weather or low light can make matters worse. Always turn your headlights on and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Often times, it’s better to take evasive action and not slam the brakes, especially on snow-covered roads. Even when going slowly, try to gently lower speed and drive around obstacles to avoid a possible crash.

Essential gear

Don’t leave home without making sure you’ve packed the following:

  • salt/sand
  • chains for your tires
  • jumper cables
  • snow brushes and scrapers
  • blankets
  • extra clothes
  • a good set of rain gear
  • your trusty flashlight

Comfy shoes and thick socks are a must, as well as an extra charger for your phone, a warm hat and gloves. Sunglasses can be a lifesaver in the winter because let’s face it – snow is beautiful, sure, but it can also be blindingly white and seriously affect your vision.

Treating your truck like your home on the road can help with the fatigue of the long haul, so make sure to equip yourself with the creature comforts – a coffee pot, microwave/toaster oven and maybe an electric blanket can go a long way. A grooming kit will keep you looking fresh between distant stops.

Finally, try and follow all safety suggestions, such as keeping a reflective safety vest, CB radio, and first aid kit handy.