With the holidays in full swing, fleets have several safety concerns to manage while their drivers are on the roads. Increased holiday traffic, extended service lives for commercial vehicles, and wintry weather conditions increase truck drivers’ risk until spring. Truck drivers need to take extra precautions to optimize safety during the winter months.
Here are several strategies truck drivers can use to help them navigate wintry roads:
- Drive in other vehicle’s tire tracks. If another truck has already cleared a path, drivers can use those tracks for better traction. The road may still be slick but using another driver’s tracks will help.
- Approach bridges with caution. Bridges and overpasses freeze first, and many aren’t treated with salt like the main roads are. They’re especially prone to black ice, and truck drivers need to be on high alert while driving over them.
- Know the signs of black ice. Black ice makes the roads look wet, and it can be difficult to distinguish the difference. However, truck drivers can look for subtle signs to clue them in to the possibility of black ice. When the temperature drops close to freezing, look for ice build-up in windshield corners and around mirrors. A lack of tire spray from other vehicles is another strong indicator of black ice.
- Prepare for mountain driving. Mountain weather is often unpredictable and can become severe with little warning. Gusts of wind, avalanche zones, and steep grades increase the risk profile of mountain driving during the winter. Truck drivers must take precautions before navigating mountain roads. Some states require tire chains, and some roads may close altogether due to snow. Listening to weather and news reports can keep drivers aware of road closures and severe weather.
- Stay in the vehicle when stuck. Wintry weather can force truck drivers to stop in less-than-ideal locations. If there is no shelter in sight, a truck driver’s best option is to stay in the vehicle. It’s difficult to navigate snowy conditions on foot, and it’s easy to get lost in heavy snowfall. However, caution and preparation are essential to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, such as clearing the exhaust pipe of ice and only running the engine for 15 minutes each hour.
Interstate Motor Carries is committed to keeping truck drivers safe no matter the weather conditions. Contact us to learn more about reducing your trucking company’s risks.