Winter Driving Safety for Truck Drivers (Part 1)

winter driving

Winter weather creates a lot of potential hazards for truck drivers. Sudden storms and lingering snow and ice make roadways treacherous and much more difficult to navigate safely.

Truckers often don’t have the luxury of staying home when the weather turns, as they are responsible for keeping up with a delivery schedule. However, there are some ways to stay safer while out on the road. Always take precautions, follow safety protocols, and keep your Truck Insurance policy active in case you experience an accident. Check out these basic guidelines for driving in inclement weather.

Be Aware of Incoming Storms

Winter truck driving safety requires a little extra thought. Map out your route and have a backup plan in place when traveling in rural areas. A severe storm could cause road closures until the snow or ice is cleared away.

Check the weather before you leave. It’s also a good idea to periodically listen to weather updates. Not all weather patterns are predictable, but you will likely have some warning for larger storms.

Stay Alert

It is always essential that you pay attention when you are behind the wheel. This is especially true during the winter when blowing snow can drastically decrease visibility. You must be always watching the road and surrounding environment. If there is an obstacle in the road, or another vehicle is having problems, you may need to react by making a fast decision to avoid an accident.

Keep a Safe Distance

Another of the most important safe winter driving tips is to allow a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If roads are slippery, it can be impossible to stop quickly if the car you are following has a problem.
Stay back a safe distance to avoid accidents and give yourself more time to react and move out of the way.

Clean Snow from Your Vehicle

If the weather involves rain, snow, or ice of any kind, the precipitation will accumulate on your vehicle. Clear it all from your truck before you head out on the road. You need to have full use of your windows and mirrors to drive safely. Also, snow or ice that piles up may dislodge during the drive and impair your vision or hit others that are driving.

Drive More Slowly

Plummeting temperatures can quickly freeze water on the road and turn it into ice. Icy roads, along with those that are slushy from snow, cause vehicles to lose traction and skid more easily. This makes it more difficult to stop if you need to.

The best practice is to drive slower during periods of inclement weather so you have a decreased risk of sliding. Slick surfaces aren’t good for sudden changes in speed, so you should also take care to accelerate and decelerate more slowly as well.

Wear Your Seat Belt

Taking precautions is important for greater road safety, but not all accidents are preventable. Wear your seatbelt every time you are in your truck. This simple practice could save your life.

Don’t Drive While Impaired

The winter months are the time for holiday parties and increased gatherings with family and friends. Alcohol is a common accompaniment to these social events. However, remember to abstain if you plan to drive anywhere. Keep a clear head so you can stay alert.

Report Unsafe Driving Behaviors

Sometimes other drivers don’t follow basic safety protocols. If you notice any unsafe behaviors such as swerving, speeding, or other suspicious actions, call the police and report them. Stay on the line to give information about the location and vehicle so the authorities can find the guilty party.

Avoid Distractions

Staying alert is one of the most important safety rules to follow while driving. Avoid using your phone or taking your attention away from the road. If you need to consult your directions or make a call, find a safe area to pull off the road and stop.

Keep Your Vehicle Maintained

Vehicle safety involves more than what happens on the road. Regular maintenance is also important. Keep your truck insurance active and get your truck serviced on a regular basis. This includes oil changes, checking tire pressure, and topping up other fluids.

Allow Extra Time When Possible

It’s no secret that winter driving can be slow going sometimes. Snow covers roads, blowing winds, and icy patches are all cause to take your time. Figure on taking some extra time to reach your destination. Build it into your schedule wherever possible.

If you are running late for any reason, don’t use that as an excuse to speed up. You may get into an accident that could cause someone harm, or at the least, delay you even further. If necessary, stop and alert the appropriate party of the delay, but continue to put safe driving practices first.

Prepare for an Emergency

No one wants to think about getting into an accident or experiencing a delay due to road closures. These things do happen on occasion though. Prepare in advance so if you have an emergency situation, you can handle it.

Keep your truck fueled up and pack water, food, warm clothing and blankets, a flashlight, and medical kit. This can tide you over as you wait to get back to your travels.

With adequate preparation and focused attention to your surroundings, you can help prevent most wintertime accidents. Always follow traffic laws and prepare to adjust your driving quickly to adapt to sudden changes in the weather.

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Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!