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How to Stay Safe While Driving During Winter

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It's pretty much the same situation every winter but operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) during the icy months can be challenging for the professional trucker.

One is dealing with rapidly changing weather and road conditions. Icy roads and blinding blizzards are just some of hazardous conditions truck drivers should be prepared of.

Let us take a look at some of the tips that drivers should use and issues they need to be aware of when it comes to staying safe during the winter months.

Be prepared

If there's ice on the road, it's dangerous. All drivers should have a winter survival kit in their truck. Aside from warning devices, emergency system, tool kit, you should also carry the following:

-a snow brush and scraper
-shovel
-traction devices
-heating blankets/heaters

Don't forget to bring extra food and water, first aid kit, and proper outerwear (extra coat, gloves, hat, boots).


winter.jpg

Keep an eye on the temperature

Water crystallizes into ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The roadways tend to be slightly warmer than the air temp, but once you’re down that low in temperature, you need to be wary.


Look for spray coming up from other vehicles

If spray is coming off the tires, it’s likely that the roads are wet (as opposed to ice covered), but keep in mind that a short stretch of road with ice on it can be just as dangerous as a ice-packed roadway.


Stranded during the storm

If you are stranded in your truck, stay inside. Never leave for assistance, unless help is visible and close (within about 100 yards). Leaving the vehicle is a dangerous decision, as it is easy to become disoriented in blowing and drifting snow.

If able to safely do it, the driver should hang a brightly colored cloth outside the vehicle. Run the vehicle’s engine (with the heater on) for about 10 minutes every hour to keep warm. While the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure the vehicle’s exhaust pipe is clear and free of snow.

It is important to retain body heat to avoid hypothermia, a condition brought on when the body’s temperature drops to a dangerously low level.

Dressing in layers and using any additional blankets and coats can aid in insulating the body’s heat.


Keep contact with people

See to it that your CB radio is on and talk to the drivers around you. For new drivers, try to find a seasoned driver to guide you.


Watch for warning signs and don’t follow others too close

If there are four-wheelers spun out in the median or shoulder, the roads are bad. If you start seeing big trucks spun out, it’s time to get off the roadway.


No load is worth your life

Find a safe spot to wait it out. Let your logbook gain some hours. If you can’t find a spot in a truck stop, park on a ramp or anywhere out of the way. Try not to park on an incline. You’re liable to get yourself stuck.


Treat your diesel

Diesel gels when it gets really cold. If your diesel gels, your truck won’t run. If you are facing winter weather conditions, you need to put an anti-gel additive in your tanks (put it in BEFORE you fuel so it mixes). It’s a good idea to stock up ahead of time.


And lastly, here's additional tip from a truck driver: Turn the jake off when its icy. You need braking on all your axles, not just the drives. This is a common trap for new drivers in icy conditions

Source: coops are open and JJKeller

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Comments

  1. HILLBROTHERSO/O's Avatar
    If I'm not mistaken, using your jakes in the lowest setting possible isn't so bad during bad weather conditions. I'm always open to learning new things, so if this advice is way off, feel free and correct me. Needless to say, typically, if the roads are icy, or super snow packed, I'm parked anyway.

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