Drive your truck safety in winter
All trucking drivers can drive vehicles in winter. Because they went to truck driving institute and passed CDL general knowledge written tests and on-road driving tests. But not all truckers know exactly how to prepare and drive safety as a professional trucking driver in the winter.( Driving in unsafety weather condition is one of 7 reasons why shouldn’t you become a truck driver )
Here are the best safety truck driving tips in the winter weather from experienced truckers, truck driving teachers and trucking companies. You should write down a full note of it and check it before winter trips.
Make sure your vehicle is ready for driving in winter weather. During the pre-trip inspection, pay extra attention to the following items.
Trucking vehicle checks before trips in winter
Coolant level and antifreeze system: Make sure the cooling system is full and there is enough antifreeze in the system to protect against freezing. This can be checked with a special coolant tester.
Defrosting and heating equipment: Check to see if the defrosters and heaters work. They are needed for safe driving. Make sure you know how to operate them. If you use other heaters and expect to need them (mirror heaters, battery box heaters, fuel tank heaters), check their operation.
Wipers and washers: The windshield wiper blades must be in good condition. Make sure the wiper blades press against the window hard enough to wipe the windshield clean of snow. Make sure the windshield washer works and the washer reservoir is full. Use windshield washer antifreeze to prevent freezing of the washer liquid. If you can’t see well enough while driving (i.e., your wipers fail), stop safely and fix the problem.
Tires of vehicle: Check the tread on your tires. The drive tires must provide traction to push the rig over wet pavement and through snow. The steering tires must have traction to steer the vehicle. Enough tread is especially important in winter conditions. You must have at least 4/32 inch tread depth in every major groove on the front tires and at least 2/32 inch on other tires. More would be better. Use a gauge to determine if you have enough tread for safe driving.
Tire chains: You may find yourself in conditions where you can’t drive without chains, even to get to a place of safety. Carry the correct number of chains and extra cross links. Make sure they will fit your drive tires. Check the chains for broken hooks, worn or broken cross links, and bent or broken side chains. Learn how to put the chains on before you need to do it in snow or ice.
Lights and reflectors of vehicle: Make sure the lights and reflectors are clean. Lights and reflectors are especially important during bad weather. Check from time to time during bad weather to make sure they are clean and working.
Windows and mirrors of cabin: Remove any ice, snow, etc. from the windshield, windows, and mirrors before starting. Use a windshield scraper, snow brush, and windshield defroster as necessary.
Handholds, steps, and deck plates of truck: Remove all ice and snow from hand holds, steps, and deck plates which you must use to enter the cab or to move about the vehicle. This will reduce the danger of slipping.
Radiator shutters and winterfront: Remove ice from the radiator shutters. Make sure the winterfront is not closed too tightly. If the shutters freeze shut or the winterfront is closed too much, the engine may overheat and stop.
Exhaust system of vehicle: Exhaust system leaks are especially dangerous when cab ventilation is poor (windows rolled up, etc.). Loose connections can permit poisonous carbon monoxide to leak into your cab which will make you sleepy. In large amounts, it can kill you. Check the exhaust system for loose parts and for sounds and signs of leaks.
Driving on Slippery Surfaces
Slippery surfaces: Drive slowly and smoothly on slippery roads. If it is very slippery, you shouldn’t drive at all. Stop at the first safe place. The following are some safety guidelines:
Start gently and slowly: When first starting, get the feel of the road. Do not hurry.
Adjust turning and braking to conditions: Make turns as carefully as possible. Do not brake any harder than necessary and do not use the engine brake or speed retarder. (They can cause the driving wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.)
Adjust speed to conditions: Do not pass slower vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly and watch far enough ahead to keep a steady speed. Avoid having to slow down and speed up. Take curves at slower speeds and do not brake while in curves. Be aware that as the temperature rises to the point where ice begins to melt, the road becomes even more slippery and you must slow down even more.
Adjust space to conditions: Do not drive alongside other vehicles. Keep a greater following distance. When you see a traffic jam ahead, slow down or stop and wait for it to clear. Try to anticipate stops early and slow down gradually.
Driving with wet brakes
When driving in heavy rain or deep standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water on the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, apply unevenly, or grab. This can cause lack of braking power, wheel lockups, pulling to one side or the other, and a jackknife if you pull a trailer.
Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing water, if possible. If you cannot, you should:
Place transmission in a low gear.
Gently put on the brakes. This presses linings against brake drums or discs and keeps mud, silt, and water from getting in.
Increase engine rpm and cross the water while keeping light pressure on the brakes.
When out of the water, maintain light pressure on the brakes for a short distance to heat them up and dry them out.
CAUTION: Brake drums and linings can overheat if you do this for too long.
Make a test stop when safe to do so. Check your mirrors to be sure no one is following, then apply the brakes to be sure they are working. If not, dry out further as described above.