PLAN IN ADVANCE
If you are sure that you will have to face snow-covered tracks on the road, which may be covered with ice, plan your route in advance. Consider alternative detours, check off any truck parks, gas stations, and other important points of interest, use truck dispatch training classes.
Check the weather forecast for all the cities you will be passing through. Even when you find yourself in an unpleasant situation and do not have time to deliver the goods on time, it is better not to rush, but to continue safely following the route, while warning the dispatcher or customer about the delay due to adverse weather conditions.
Get in the habit of carefully checking the technical condition of your truck before a trip:
stoplights and taillights must be clearly visible and function correctly;
good condition of tires;
serviceability of heating;
mirrors are fixed in the correct position and cleaned of road dirt;
windshield wipers are fine and you have extra fluid on hand to keep your windshield clean.
DO NOT RUN!
The most important thing you can do when driving in dangerous conditions is to slow down. You will hear it over and over again because most crashes are caused or exacerbated by the vehicle moving much faster than conditions would allow. If the road is snowy or icy, the current speed limit does not matter, you must slow down so that you can fully control your truck in any unforeseen situation.
When you’re at a reasonable speed, the steering becomes more responsive. You can better control your vehicle by preventing skidding and maintaining better brake traction. The practice of driving slowly when the weather is inclement, it is snowing, and the roads are swept up is the best option for improving safety.
Here are some professional tips that can help:
When riding on packed snow, check your rear-view mirrors often to see what color tread you have. The general rule of thumb is that if the tread is black, then the tires are hot and you are going too fast. Slow down slowly until the tread turns white. This means that the temperature has dropped and you have more grip.
If you are on a wet surface and the amount of spray from other vehicles is reduced, then there is a risk of running into black ice. Reduce your speed carefully and wait until the road conditions change for the better.
Don’t worry about how fast other drivers around you are moving, take your time. If they need to overtake you, they will. It’s the same with other truckers. If they overtake you, this may be due to the fact that they carry a completely different load, have a different weight, etc. Every truck is different and you know how yours drives. Therefore, behave on the road correctly in accordance with the conditions in which you find yourself.
USE YOUR RADIO
If you don’t have a walkie-talkie, be sure to get one. Turn it on on the civilian range when approaching dangerous mountain passes and when driving in adverse weather conditions. A walkie-talkie is great for finding out what road conditions you might be in, what accidents happened nearby, and where to stop for a rest.
KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE
Make sure there is enough space between you and the vehicle in front. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 7 seconds between you. To do this, you can mark some conditional place ahead on the road and when the car in front passes it, start counting up to seven in your mind. If you pass the intended place before 7 seconds, then you need to increase the distance. Thanks to this, if someone in front suddenly slows down or goes into a skid, you will have time to react.
STAY AWAY FROM LARGE VEHICLES
Usually cars move on the track in groups. If you are nervous about traveling on a motorway with a lot of cars, just separate from the convoy. Let them drive ahead of you to provide extra distance and time to react in the event of an accident.
AVOID STOPPING ON THE ROAD
This may not be safe, especially in poor visibility conditions. Another car may simply not notice you or slide on the ice and crash. Therefore, such stops should be made only in extreme cases.
KEEP YOUR HEADLIGHTS CLEAN
Check the cleanliness of your warning lights at every stop. Snow, ice, and road grime can accumulate, making it difficult to see the road and other vehicles on it, making it harder for them to see you.
BE CAREFUL IF YOU REFER TO THE REAR LIGHTS OF GOING VEHICLES AHEAD
Often in poor visibility, especially in snowfall, we simply keep an eye on the rear lights ahead of us. The problem with this tactic is that these lights can take you out of the way. Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s going on around those taillights and not just blindly following them.
DON’T DISTRACT ON THE ROAD
This means that you can not be distracted by a mobile phone and other things that can reduce your concentration.
Watch your revs when going uphill. Do your best to keep them down. Too much torque will increase your chances of losing control.
BE SPECIALLY CAREFUL ON BRIDGES, FLASHWAYS AND RAMPS
Make sure you slow down well before you reach a bridge, overpass or ramp, which are much more likely to freeze. Be as focused as possible when approaching them.
It can be tempting to keep up with other, faster trucks on the track. But safety is the most important thing, it is better to keep to the right and let faster cars pass than to try to keep up with them.
KEEP FUEL TANK FULL
When the amount of fuel in the tank falls below three-quarters, it is necessary to refuel. Full tanks add weight to the truck and give you better traction.
CHECK YOUR BRAKES
It’s a good idea to carefully check your brakes when no one is behind you. Slow down to 20 kilometers per hour or less and apply the brakes carefully to see how the tires respond and how much grip you get. Keep your brakes warm by applying them gently a few times an hour to keep them from freezing and failing.
If cars and trucks come out of a snow-covered mountain pass, stop and put on chains (in some areas chains are required by law, so be prepared). If you’ve never worn chains before, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and practice so you know what to do when the need arises. If the weather conditions are too bad, it is better to stop and wait.
Choose your parking space carefully. Make sure you don’t get into a situation where hot tires melt the snow and freeze over. You can pre-cool your tires by driving the same spot forward and backward 50-60 meters several times. You will not be able to avoid situations when snowdrifts form around you during your rest. Carry a shovel and rock salt with you to free yourself if you get stuck.
TIPS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS ON HOW TO BE GOOD ON THE ROAD IN WINTER