Driving in snow demands a specific set of skills for all drivers,
especially big rig drivers.
Too many drivers on the highways do not
alter their driving skills, when driving in poor weather conditions, on
snow-covered or icy roads. Good maneuvering and skid control skills are essential in poor weather. The top truck driver training schools ensure the best training for bad weather driving.
These skills for driving in poor conditions, can truly separate the good, professional drivers from other drivers.
They have the smarts for making good decisions and knowing when conditions are not safe, and it's time to 'get off the road'.
Driving in bad weather, especially in snow and on ice, is risky due to more ' stop time' required, poor visibility, poor traction and the increased unpredictability of other drivers on the road.
The job of a trucker becomes increasingly challenging, when handling a semi truck, trailer and load in foul weather.
VIDEO: HOW TO CLIMB AND DESCEND A SLIPPERY GRADE IN A TRACTOR TRAILER: DRIVING IN SNOW
Safe Driving Tips: Driving in Bad Weather
Slow down - At fault accidents are mostly due to
excessive speed. Driving at the speed limit may be legal, but is often
too fast for snow covered or icy road conditions.Take as much time as necessary..DO NOT HURRY! Speed kills.
Keep a safe following distance-
- Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front
of your truck, and beside your truck, when possible (approx. 1/4mile).
Don't travel as part of a pack -- Traffic seems to move in 'packs' on the highway. Find a safe way
to get away from the pack and travel alone, with the goal being to
maximize the distance around your vehicle.
Don't follow the tail-lights of the vehicle ahead -- When the snow is so heavy, visibility is low, seeing the tail lights of the vehicle ahead...means following too closely.
Keep a safe driving distance back at all times, especially in bad
weather. If the leader makes an error, you will too. Trucks can leave
the road, and yours could follow the lead truck off the road!
good, solid judgment -- If the weather is so severe that
you need to get off the road..... do it. Find a place to get off the
road safely and wait until conditions are safe.
Don't stop on the shoulder of the road -- Especially in low visibility situations, like driving in snow,
especially 'blinding snow', other vehicles can mistake your position for
being on the road and as a result, may slam into the back of your
Don't try to be a hero --
When the road conditions are so severe, you need to recognize that it's
very dangerous to be on the road. Hours of service rules, dispatchers
etc., are extra pressures when it a difficult, dangerous position. Don't feel that you're letting anyone down by not meeting a scheduled appointment.
I don't know of any truck driver jobs that are worth giving your life
If you put your truck, trailer and
load in the ditch, chances are, you'll find
yourself standing alone 'without support from anyone.
Don't expect anyone to step forward and
say they had insisted on a scheduled delivery appointment. 'Just on
time' drivers and bad weather, just don't mix.
Do what you
need to, in order to stay safe.
- Some drivers like to use the jake brake in less than perfect weather conditions. Some don't. DO NOT ENGAGE THE JAKE ON ICY ROADS. Try to
avoid overusing your foot brake, unless the entire unit is absolutely
'straight' on the road. Don't over brake when the entire unit isn't
straight... the trailer can slide and spin you out of your
position.....the truck slows down, and the trailer does not. This is
especially true, when the trailer is empty.
Ensure 'all systems' are a go -- Be absolutely certain during your circle check before you leave, that
the defroster and heater are working properly. Wipers, wiper motor,
lights, esp. brake and tail lights, washer fluid is topped up, drain
moisture from the air tanks, all brakes are set up, and windows and
mirrors are completely clean before departure.
Keep fuel tanks topped up, for extra weight over the drive tires, to aid with traction.Good quality lug tires, with the proper tire pressure, are essential for good traction and driving in snow and ice.
Keep tractor and trailer lights clean--
When you're able to stop in a safe place, clear the lights off of snow
and ice, which builds up in foul weather....they are vital, more than ever
when visibility is poor. LED lights especially accumulate snow and crud.
Keep everything clean, so you can BE SEEN.
Pack winter driving essentials -- Besides the mandatory roadside emergency kit for trucking safety, carry the following:
extra food and water
extra pair of snow boots and warm clothing
small propane blow torch
long tow chain or strap
'Extra' Smart Trucking Tips for Driving in Snow
A smart trucker is always prepared for bad weather conditions....the truck is equipped with necessary supplies and outfitted for all driving conditions.
A smart trucker always uses common sense and their best judgment. That's what keeps a trucker safe.