Truck driving in winter is actually a very open ended statement. It is relative to where you are at and to what conditions you are used to.
It depends on what the weather patterns are like. It will depend on the type and size of your load, too. There are many factors to consider.
After all, winter driving in Up-State New York is not the same as Southern California.
Nor is Seattle, Washington like Miami, Florida. Billings Montana and Fargo Minnesota are nothing like Kansas City, Missouri or Dallas, Texas.
I could keep going with comparisons, because even St Louis and Chicago, which are less than 5 hours apart, have different weather.
It is easy for someone to not be able to relate. More than likely someone from Anchorage, Alaska might laugh at what they call snow in Little Rock, Arkansas.
However, that doesn’t mean they are prepared for black ice on west Interstate 70 or the winter rain of Houston, Texas; and they are definitely not ready for ice road truck driving in Northern Canada or Alaska’s Bush either!!!
Remember back when we were kids, winter was a magical time of year. It didn’t matter if you lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains or Hanalei Bay in Hawaii. It was the time of magic and Santa.
For those of us who lived in the places that get snow, it was also time of snowmen, snowball fights, and snow angels!
We didn’t think about truck driving in winter or icy roads. No, we thought about warming by the fire (or heater) hopefully with some hot chocolate as our numb fingers slowly thawed.
I remember walking the long driveway to meet the school bus, never realizing the potential danger that lay just ahead.
We never do. We never really grow out of that sense of wonderment. Oh, I am sure there are a few of you who will say I am romanticizing childhood visions of winter, but why not?
Most of us didn’t have too many real worries, oh sure they were big to us then but not like they are when your adult.
So what is so different? Well now you have bills that need to be paid. So that means you must get to work. Therefore you have vehicles that need to run.
Depending on where you live that also means shoveling snow, scraping ice, salting, traffic jams, and idiot drivers who have no respect for the bad road conditions.
But now let’s get back to my earlier comment about not growing out of it; truck driving in winter can be very hazardous, and most of us aren’t prepared.
If you would like to see some resources on how and what to keep in your vehicle there are several resources available, such as:
- Check with your state public safety, highway patrol, and state police (depending on your state);
- Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) ;
- Department of Transportation (DOT) ;
- Even DMV.org has some good.
Ok, so now that you got your vehicle ready for the long driving in winter conditions, what are some other truck driving tips? Some of these are tips taken from experienced truck drivers with a lot of miles under their belt!
After all I listed a few already, and they aren’t even part of the main list.
So without making you wait for too much longer, here are my picks for 15 Tips for Truck Driving in Winter Weather. Hope they help!
1. Don’t Get Complacent Or Overly Confident
This is actually a no brainer but is definitely the number one issue when it comes to truck accidents. Being winter by itself its means that you will have to drive on the worst conditions possible, so don’t act all like a hero thinking that you can drive in every weather condition.
Truck driving in winter is risky, so use all of your “seven senses” and stay alert! I know we all like the smell of the dollar but that doesn’t mean that you should risk your well being, your life, and even somebody else’s life!
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So, when you go out there and you see that the road conditions are very severe and dangerous, try to delay your work or service hours if you can do that, or enlist wait few hours and then keep moving, but do it slowly and very carefully.
Furthermore, when you drive down the road and suddenly the road becomes slippery and you loose control over your wheel, use the “ zig- zag trick”. For the one that doesn’t know this maneuver: this is when you move your wheel left and right. That move might help you gain the control of your wheel back.
2. Make Sure You Winterize/Prepare Your Vehicle
The seasons are changing and by the time you know, its winter AGAIN! So that means that you will have to prepare your vehicle all over again.
People around the globe are preparing for the winter weather; they winterize their homes, their personal vehicles, workspaces and their cold weather clothes, so the truck drivers should do exactly the same and prepare for truck driving in winter.
You should take time and care in winterizing your rig! After all, this big machine is your moneymaker so keep it sharp and prepare it well for the upcoming conditions.
Here is a short video from Justin Kaufman with Road assist where he speaks about winter products that they use in winter conditions! Have a look!
3. Accelerate And Break Much Slower
Truck driving in winter conditions requires extra attention and alertness. If you have few years of driving experience and practice you already know what I am speaking about, but for those that arte new in the business here are some basic useful tips: