Depending on where you’re driving, winter driving can be especially tough for those driving 18 wheels of cargo. In many parts of the south, drivers may not notice much of a difference in how they control their rig, but many factors can make driving tough – and dangerous – in many parts of the northern U.S.
Roads in the north may be covered in ice or snow and many roads off of the interstate highway system may not be completely cleared or salted by trucks. The Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that commercial drivers take a number of precautions when heading out on the road:
Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario
When traveling long distances, you never know when you’ll run into a snow or ice storm and preparing for the worst will always pay off. Make sure to include the following items in your cab before heading out:
- Gloves & Jacket
- Extra food & water
- Salt or sand (to help your tires gain traction)
- Windshield scraper
- Extra gas
All of these items will be especially handy if you get stuck on the side of the road and don’t have help readily available.
Pay Attention to Weather Alerts
You can do this by listening to the radio or from alerts on your phone, but knowing what’s ahead will help you know how to prepare.
Check Out Your Equipment
In addition to your pre-trip inspection that you would usually do, make sure to treat your fuel, have extra windshield wipers, check your head and brake lights and then make sure that your windows are all free of ice to keep your visibility high.
Control Your Speed to Avoid Skidding
One of the scariest situations to be in as a commercial driver is when you can’t stop your truck and you start to slide. One way to avoid this is to keep your speed lower than normal so that you will be able to slow down in a more controlled fashion. If you begin to skid, remember to pump the brakes, shift to neutral, turn the wheel in the direction you want to go and at the end of the skid, put your truck in gear instead of coming to a stop.
Don’t Be Afraid to Stop
At the end of the day, safety is the most important thing. Don’t be afraid to pull off of the road and wait until conditions clear up to move forward. It’s much better to be a little late to your destination than to put yourself or your truck load at risk.
Do you want to earn your commercial driver’s license? Contact us today and enroll in our next class start date.