It's that time of year when we all face increased hazards caused by weather. In addition, many of our clients are in their peak season. Now is the time many of you are operating at full capacity, in the middle of the worst weather of the year.
Some proven, basic rules for safe driving in winter weather:
- Make sure drivers are prepared. Mentally prepared, alert and awake. Physically prepared, dressed for the weather and rested. Make sure that the truck is stocked with some food and water, as well as cold weather clothing and gear.
- Make sure your vehicles are prepared. Tires lose pressure in cold weather. If chains are required, make sure they are carried. Batteries fail in cold weather - test them now. Make sure heaters work and ducts are not blocked. Landing gears on your trailers are often overlooked - it's not fun cranking a stiff landing gear in cold weather at 2 AM.
- Fuel - never let trucks run low in the winter.
- Make sure your drivers watch their mirrors for wet roads that suddenly stop throwing spray - that water just turned to ice. With a keen ear, drivers can tell by tire noise on the pavement when roads start to freeze over.
- In reduced traction conditions, every movement should be slow, well planned, and deliberate. Braking, acceleration, gear changes, steering - all should be very smooth and slow.
- Watch the other guy - people do the craziest things around big trucks. Always assume the worst from the other driver - and then you can be pleasantly surprised when it does not happen.