The colder months can present significant challenges for refrigerated trucks during deliveries. When driving on slippery roads and hard-to-see conditions, safety should be your top priority, whether you’re behind the wheel or managing other employees who will be there.
Even the most experienced truckers face many challenges when the weather turns cold as extreme weather conditions can affect anyone while driving. Adverse conditions have a significant effect on your truck’s ability to stabilize, achieve proper traction, prevent collisions, and maintain good visibility. In addition to the dangers to your safety, freezing air has an adverse effect on your fuel economy, which you must take into account.
Ice is the deadliest winter hazard because it is difficult to distinguish and can cause your vehicle to lose control completely. Ice forms when the pavement is saturated by rain, melting snow, or other sources of water, causing pavement temperatures to drop below freezing. Since the surface takes longer to thaw, ice can persist on the road even when the temperature exceeds the freezing point.
While it is clear that a violent blizzard or ice and snow accumulation on your windshield can limit visibility, your vision can also be impaired on a quiet evening, cool. Condensation inside the windshield can make it difficult to tell if the rear window heater or defrost unit is working properly. Before hitting the road in cold weather, make sure these systems are working properly.
If you’re new to trucking, this could be your first winter on the road. There are some important and helpful tips to ensure you and your truck stay safe while driving in the winter.
There are general precautions you can take to prepare for anything that might come winter. Have basic supplies ready, including a charger, a spare radio, batteries, warm gloves, a first aid kit, a spare food and water bottle, and a spare leather jacket in case of a breakdown.
You should also always carry items handy such as a windshield scraper, spare blades, windshield washer fluid, tire chains, and extension cables in case your truck breaks down. Finally, always try to keep your gas tank full (no less than half a tank before starting) to prevent the gas lines from freezing.
If you know you’ll be facing heavy snow and other cold weather conditions, you should plan your trip accordingly. Take more time than you think is necessary to account for weather-related delays and the need to go slower than usual. Slower speeds keep you and other drivers safe on the road.
Your tires play an important role in keeping you safe and achieving good fuel efficiency. Check your tires regularly to ensure even traction and make sure there is no damage from road debris.
Cooler air lowers the air pressure in the tire, so even if you inflate your tires properly in hot weather, chances are you won’t have enough PSI during the winter. In addition to checking for damage, you should regularly make sure that you are filling your tires properly according to the correct PSI.
Although regularly inspected truckers are less likely to have worn or punctured tires, it’s still a hazard you should be aware of. If you notice excessive wear on your tires, contact your dispatcher and fleet supervisor immediately. If you live in an area with a lot of snow, you should consider buying snow tires.
Winter weather is the cause of many accidents and deaths, and you don’t want to be one of them. Even if you’re pressed for time during delivery, on-time unloading is never more important than your safety. When faced with extreme weather conditions such as heavy snow and icy roads, drive carefully, even if it means going a little slower than the speed limit.
Extend the distance between your truck and other drivers in front and behind you when driving in bad weather. Your average braking distance will increase by 8 to 10 seconds on icy, snowy or slippery roads. That extra space could mean the difference between causing a pile-up and stopping just in time before a serious collision occurs.
It’s easy to become complacent when you’ve walked the same road a thousand times, but winter brings dangers that force you to be extra careful. Freezing rain, slippery roads, heavy snowfall, and temperature changes can quickly change the landscape of any road.
That’s why you need to keep an eye on any sudden changes in road conditions and keep an eye out. You must always be aware of the road so that you can react appropriately to other cars or any unexpected events.
Even on your regular routes, you need to remember the common winter trouble spots along your journey. Your regular safe route can quickly change due to snow, rain, and freezing temperatures. During the winter weather, be aware of:
• Windy areas: you will need to control your direction when encountering strong winds.
• Bridge: Bridges often freeze in front of the road, so it is essential to always be cautious when crossing.
• Black Ice: sometimes hard to spot because they look like a wet road, be extra vigilant and drive carefully when the temperature drops below or near freezing.
• Intersections: brake earlier than usual at a red light or stop sign to prevent the truck from skidding off the road.