8 winter weather driving tips for truck drivers

Winter brings snow and rain, creating dangerous driving conditions for truck drivers across the country. The following tips can help you stay safe on the road, no matter how bad the weather gets.

1.Watch your speed.

Every driver knows that the faster they’re going, the less control they have over their vehicle and the less time they have to react to sudden dangers. This is especially true during the winter. 

The wisest thing you can do is to slow down. Staying safe is always more important than picking up or dropping off a load on time.

2. Maintain a safe buffer zone.

When visibility is poor and the road is covered with snow or ice, it’s important to stay a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you. This will give you plenty of time and space to brake without getting into an accident.

3. Avoid the pack.

Driving in a pack increases the risk of accidents. Keep a distance from other vehicles and maximize the distance around your truck.

4. Don’t follow tail lights.

If you’re relying on the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you to tell you when to brake, then that means you’re following too closely.

5. Avoid driving in extreme weather conditions.

Truck drivers are not required to drive in dangerous weather conditions. If heavy snowfall or extremely low temperatures make you nervous, stay parked. Call your dispatch and ask to reschedule your delivery appointment. 

6. Keep a bag of kitty litter handy.

Warm tires can quickly turn snow into a patch of ice. Sprinkle some kitty litter under the tires to add traction and help you start up again.

7. Keep a hammer and putty knife nearby.

Air tanks can freeze pretty quickly and the heat from the motor or the air in the tanks won’t melt the snow. Use a hammer and putty knife to clear away the snow or ice.

8. Keep an eye on your trailer tires.

Make sure the trailer’s wheels are turning and the brakes aren’t frozen. If they are, you could have a frozen valve or shoes that are frozen to the drums. To unfreeze the valve, pour some methyl hydrate through the system to melt it. If you have a frozen shoe and drum, use a hammer to gently tap the drum with the red button pushed in.