Official winter starts for truckers when the temperature goes below minus 5 degrees. It becomes hard even for professional truck drivers to deal with icy roads. Driving on bridges is more challenging because they freeze first. Apply winter driving tips for truckers you learned in driving school. I salute truckers who sail through icy roads despite the weather. I always monitor Ontario winter road conditions on radios and the internet. Here are some winter driving tips for truckers.
Truck tire pressure
The most important is making the vehicle ready for winter. Monitor tire pressure regularly, maintain it winter friendly. Generally, it is between 95 to 105 psi but keeping it at a higher level is good. Always read tire company manual to stay at the best. Maintain battery at an acceptable level and keep it corrosion free. Check the working of heat and mirror heat, seriously you need mirror heat in rain, freezing rain, and snow. Monitor oil level regularly.
Winter Survival kit
Keep diesel tank full. Must have following items in your bunk before you hit the road
More then one – windshield washer, snow chains, snowmelt salt, sandbag, containers of engine oil and antifreeze.
At least one – pair of safety shoes, safety vest, gloves, triangles, booster cable, first aid kit, flashlight, windshield scraper, snow brush and snow shovel.
Following distance on icy roads
Now you are on the road, concentrate on driving, time to apply winter driving tips. Avoid sudden braking, try to slow down by downshifting. If you have to stop immediately, don’t brake hard. Safe following distance is better, increase it as per road conditions. Measure the following distance from a stationary object, start counting seconds when your leading vehicle passes that object. Safe following distance for tractor trailer is 4 seconds. If you are driving at 40 mph, keep it up to 7 to 8 seconds from your leading vehicle. Conditions go worse if you are driving at night and freezing rain starts. Avoid driving in such conditions, park, and sleep. Do not apply trailer brakes to hold at intersections, always cover your brakes while crossing intersections.
Monitor road conditions
Monitor mirrors regularly, more frequent then summer. Visibility drops quickly if it is windy after the snowfall. Try to follow the lights vehicle in front of you. Following a tractor-trailer at safe distance is good in such weather conditions. Do not try to pass in snow and windy weather. Watch your mirrors for tire spray. If tire spray is more than you can continue at a good speed, it is water and mud. The road starts to freeze when tire spray goes down. It may turn to black ice any time, no tire spray on the iced road. Maneuver slightly and slowly on the ramps. Speed posted on ramps is for cars.
Finally, it is easier to say everything, hard to do in a fraction of seconds. Still, every collision is preventable. Apply defensive driving tips for truckers and have a safe winter.
Ten driving checks for truckers
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The driving checks are important because truck driving is not an easy job as it seen, handling almost 75 feet length in traffic, bad weather, day nights and muddy roads. Doing all this and keeping your driving license safe, because you are driving for bread and butter. Your safety is vital, if trucker is safe on road, he/she is spreading great safety message to other drivers on the road. Below are some Safe driving tips for truckers.
Before hitting the road, it is very important to inspect your vehicle. A truck inspection sheet (schedule 1), hammer, flashlight, gloves, safety shoes and safety vest are needed for truck inspection. Follow a safety inspection sheet and circle around keeping vehicle on left. Being honest on inspection, keep your CVOR clean.
Planning your trip
Starting from road condition check truck entrance where you going to pick or deliver. You can check truck entrances here and if you visited a difficult place, please enter the details here, everybody can use it. Watch local weather forecast and plan accordingly. Try to avoid going in unsafe weather conditions.
Here are most important Ten Driving checks
Stay safe, alert on the road, every collision is preventable.
Monitor your following distance as per weather conditions. Bigger cushion gives more comfortable stop. Don’t try to chase small vehicles.
Don’t change lanes, unless really needed, changing lane just to pass, may lead to collision or road rage. Consider it for construction, lane closures, emergency vehicle and for old guy driving his grand dad`s gift on 45 mph.
Use trucker`s GPS, keep it updated.
Pay extra attention to ramps, bridges especially in winter. The cautionary speed posted there is for cars. Avoid driving at night, but if you have to stay upfront, freezing rain and night is worse, try to sit at truck stop that night.
Take regular brakes, don’t think about miles, because miles will be there if you are safe.
Rock n roll on turns, trucks are so big can easily catch on poles, curves, turn at walking speed, so you can stop right away if there is danger.
Don’t get involved in music or radio you are listening, music effects attitude and change your decision making.
Monitor load and vehicle condition regularly, worse can be front tire flat on highway, air leak no breaking power, etc. can lead to serious conditions.
Safety of a truck driver is very important, it is in a professional hands, alert, alive, arrive.