Winter is a difficult time of the year for the commercial or owner operator truck driver. No matter how much experience you have, driving in intense snow storms is never easy. You have poor traction, poor visibility, and the traffic around you can be unpredictable. Getting through the season without incident will require focused and smart driving. Here are seven winter driving tips to help you stay safe:
- Plan your trips around the weather. Storms are best navigated by avoiding them in the first place. Plan your route around weather forecasts. If a storm is predicted along your route, alter it if possible to avoid the brunt of the storm or to avoid areas with heavy traffic. If the storm will occur at a destination, alter your arrival time if possible. Perhaps you can get there well before or after the storm. While on your trip, continue to monitor the storm through radar maps and weather stations.
- Bring emergency gear. Bring equipment for dealing with common winter emergency situations. For example, sand, cat litter, and chains will assist you when you get stuck. Other useful items include warm clothing, boots with good traction, provisions for sleeping warmly in your cab or sleeper, and extra windshield wiper fluid.
- Stay visible. Snow and road slush can plaster your front and rear lights. Keeping these clean is vital to remaining visible to others on the road. If it seems that cars are cutting you off a lot, you could have a visibility problem. In heavy snow, your lights are the only way that traffic can see you.
- Stay focused with both hands on the wheel. Braking and steering require more distance in poor traction conditions. This requires that you react to traffic events occurring farther down the road. Both hands provide better control in difficult road sections.
- Keep your distance. This includes keeping an extra long following distance and avoiding clusters of traffic. In poor visibility situations, if you can see the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you, you’re probably following too closely.
- Drive slowly. The speed limit is too fast in slippery conditions. Drive no faster than you can safely control your vehicle.
- Know when to call it quits. When the weather gets too extreme, get off at the next exit or rest stop. Don’t stop on the shoulder because disoriented motorists may rear-end you.
If you are looking for commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Tennessee that provides affordable rates for commercial vehicles of all sizes, contact us at J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC.