Winter roads pose risks for every vehicle, but semi-truck drivers face challenges that most drivers would not even think of. Here are 7 trucker trips for winter driving.
1. Use Your Lights
In inclement weather, turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you. Make sure all your lights work before hitting the road in case some of them get covered. If snow is sticking to your vehicle, you may need to stop and clear off your lights.
2. Know Your Routes
Before you hit the road, look up your route. When weather is good, take note of safe places to pull off and park including rest areas and gas stations. That way when you run into a snow storm, you will know where to stop.
3. Watch Tire Spray
When roads look wet, the spray coming off of nearby vehicles’ tires can give you a clue whether that glare is water or ice. If there is a lot of spray then the roads are wet. If there is less spray then the roads are freezing and you need to be more careful to prevent slipping.
4. Carry Supplies
You never know when an unexpected accident or slick roads could slow you down. Keep blankets, food, and water in your vehicle in case you get stuck.
5. Track the Weather
There are lots of ways to track the weather while you are driving. Some vehicles even have weather trackers built in to the GPS systems. You can use the radio, smartphone apps (only when you are not driving, please!), or call-in services to find out where the storms are headed.
6. Slow Down and Make Room
When weather gets rough, your tires can lose traction. Make sure you will be able to stop in time by slowing down and doubling or tripling your follow distance. As a rule, keep 10 seconds of following distance on ice or snow covered roads. You never know when the car in front of you will start to slide and you will need to react.
7. Wait It Out
If the big trucks are pulling off the road, you know things are getting bad, and it might be wise to wait it out. Get past the off ramp and into a parking lot for a gas station or 24 hour restaurant. That way you won’t get plowed in while you wait for the snow to pass.
Truckers know how to be safe on dangerous roadways. They know when it is safe to drive and how to wait out the storm. Take these tips with you to keep you safe on the roads this winter.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team work with the victims of trucking accidents and motor vehicle collisions to help them get the recovery they need. If you know someone who has been hit by a semi truck, contact Christensen Law for a free consultation today.