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Winter Driving: Safety Tips for Professional Drivers

by Anna Mischke | Nov 17, 2017
Driver News 111517During one of the busiest times of the year for truck drivers, the weather can be at its worst. On top of practicing your normal safety routines while driving, there are additional steps you can take to prevent accidents during inclement winter weather.

  • According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA): "On average, there are over 5,748,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 22% of these crashes - nearly 1,259,000 - are weather-related. Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement). On average, nearly 6,000 people are killed and over 445,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year."

  • Always check the weather before departing and allow extra time for winter weather conditions
  • Avoid unsafe downhill and untreated areas
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Use extreme caution in turns, on bridges, in shaded areas (by buildings, trees, etc.), and areas with overhanging objects- such as tree limbs- as ice is more likely to form in these areas
  • Double following distance (at least 6 second following distance and add an extra 2 seconds for every 10 mph over 30 mph)
  • Do not increase speed on snowy/icy uphill surfaces (get speed before the hill and maintain without spinning wheels)
  • Avoid stopping on snowy/icy uphill inclines
  • Avoid fatigued driving
  • Check your tire tread depth and inflation
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full
  • Do not use cruise control on snowy/icy pavement
  • Pack for break downs (warm clothes and/or blanket, food, water, extra medication, etc.)
  • Pack tools for the weather (ice/snow scraper, shovel, salt/sand, etc.)
  • If you become snowbound, stay in your vehicle and ensure your exhaust pipe does not get blocked by snow (if close to the ground)
  • Watch for signs of frostbite (especially on your hands, face, and feet): initial symptoms include cold/numbness and skin may appear white, waxy, or grayish-yellow. Get somewhere warm immediately and seek medical attention if you show symptoms.

Be a professional driver, use your best judgment when it is safe to drive and when to pull over.

Consider not only your ability to drive, but also those on the roadway around you.

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  1. Keith | Nov 21, 2017

     Winter time is here.  Decrease your speed and keep your eyes moving, remember the  Smith system driving course.


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