Winter can be a challenging time of the year for the commercial or owner operator truck driver. Ice and snow will demand yet more focus and careful driving to avoid being the cause or the victim of an accident. This is especially true if your driving brings you to the snow belt states. Although road treatments that use salt are effective and appreciated, they can cause expensive maintenance problems later in the form of rust.
A rig full of rust not only leaves a bad customer impression, it can cause serious safety issues. Many critical parts underneath your commercial or owner operator truck are exposed to the corrosive action of salt. While there are methods of avoiding corrosion that involve protective coatings, washing salt off your rig, inspections, and using corrosion resistant materials on your truck, altering your driving habits will also help. Here are three driving suggestions:
Increase Your Following Distance
In addition to its safety advantages, a greater following distance will reduce the road spray of salt-laden slush and water from the traffic in front. This rule especially applies when following plows and salt treatment trucks. Even on days when there is no snow or slush cover, the pavement still has plenty of dried salt residue that can get sprayed into the air by traffic moving over wet road sections.
Getting sprayed by salt isn’t your only concern. Traffic, and especially other trucks, will kick up pebbles, rocks, and bits of gravel that will create nicks and scratches on your paint and anti-rust coating. These expose bare metal to the corrosive effects of salt and water, and will become the starting points of new corrosion.
Avoid Construction Areas
This is mostly a suggestion for the warmer months when road construction is more often done. However, construction doesn’t come to a complete stop in the winter. Construction sites often require driving on loose gravel. Even at slow speeds, gravel kicked up by your wheels can cause nicks to the underside coating of your rig.
Avoid Water Puddles
Water puddles can dissolve and hold a lot of salt. Driving through these at highway speeds will give your truck a good salt bath and can penetrate deeply. Stick to the middle lanes of the highway. These are at the top of the road crown and have fewer puddles than lanes on the far right and left.
Stay safe this winter and make sure you have enough South Carolina commercial or owner operator truck insurance. To learn about our coverage and rates, contact us.