Commercial Truck Driver: Tips to Drive Safely in the Winter

Unfortunately, if you are a commercial truck driver, there are no such thing as snow days. You are expected to deliver the goods, no matter what the weather is. You will have to work when it is cold outside. The snow and ice may slow you down, but you are still going to need to be able to get behind the wheel and move goods from one place to another. People depend on you, no matter what. 

That being said, you need to be able to get from one place to another safely. Here are some tips to drive safe in the winter. 

Make sure that your truck and trailer are ready for bad weather. Before the weather gets bad, you need to make sure that your truck and trailer are ready for it. Replace any tires that aren’t great. Check your windshield wipers. You need to make sure that you can see well, no matter what is going on outside. You should also check your lights. All of your lights need to be working. Not only will this help you see, it will help you be seen by others. 

You also need to make sure that all of your fluids are topped off. Always have your fuel tank filled. You don’t want to be out on a run and realize that you don’t have enough fuel to get where you need to go!  

Slow down. Whenever the weather isn’t wonderful, you need to slow down and drive according to the weather conditions. Give yourself extra time to react, by leaving even more room between vehicles. Don’t get too close to the bumper in front of you. Instead, leave a few car lengths in between vehicles. Give yourself extra time to stop. Don’t wait until you are right in the intersection to slam on your brakes. Give yourself extra space to turn.

The best way to do this is by leaving with plenty of extra time. You aren’t going to make it to the same place in your normal thirty minutes. Instead, give yourself an hour to get there. If it usually takes you two hours, give yourself three hours. The more time that you have, the safer you can be. You won’t have to worry about rushing to get where you are going. Instead, you can take your time.  

Do NOT panic. Too many people panic when the weather is bad. This makes them overreact, which can quickly cause accidents. Instead, driving slowly and carefully. Don’t ever slam on your brakes. Slowly break. 

Use your headlights. Whenever the weather is bad, you need to turn on your headlights. Not only will this help you see, others will be able to see you easier.  If you are unsure about whether or not you should turn on your lights, you definitely should. 

And your signals. You should make sure that you use your turn signals all of the time. However, when it is harder to see, it is even more important. You also should use your flashers if you are driving slower than expected. That will tell other drivers to slow down when they approach you. If not, they will just fly up close to you and have to slam on their brakes, which could cause an accident. 

Watch the tire spray. You should make sure that you pay attention to the water that is coming off of the other tires that are on the road. If there is a lot of water flying, the roads are just wet. If there isn’t much spray and the roads look wet, you should slow down because the roads are starting to freeze. If there is no spray, you could be dealing with black ice. 

Pull over carefully. Though it might be in your best interest to pull over and wait for the snow plows to do their job, the truth is that you need to do so carefully. Do not pull off along the main highways, or there is a good chance that you will get hit. You may not even want to stop in a rest area, just in case they aren’t plowed right away. You might do better stopping somewhere that is open for twenty-four hours, like a Walmart or a bigger gas station. These lots are probably going to be plowed rather quickly, so you shouldn’t get stuck there. 

Before winter hits, you need to make sure that your rig is ready. If the tires don’t look perfect, get a new pair. Buy the best tires that you can afford, so that they will last you through the bad weather. You also should top off all of your fluids and make sure that your fuel tank is filled before every run. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere and run out of fuel! 

Then, you need to give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going. Give yourself an extra hour or so. This will allow you to slow down and drive safely, no matter what the weather is. You should never panic. If you do, you will overreact, which could cause an accident. Do not slam on your brakes, or you could lose control of your vehicle. Instead, drive slowly and carefully. Give yourself more time to brake and slow down. Take even wider turns. 

You are also going to want to use your headlights anytime that visibility is down. Not only will that allow you to see better, it will also help others see you. Use your turn signals for every turn. Use your flashers if you are driving slower than normal. You don’t want someone to drive right up to you, not realizing that you aren’t going the normal speed limit. That driver could slam on their brakes and hit you. If you have your flashers, it will let them know to slow up as they approach you! 

Contact us for all of your commercial truck insurance needs. We are proud to serve Florida, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

David Ott

David Ott