Winter is one of the most dangerous times of year for all road users, but driving a truck in winter this season it is even more hazardous. As you’ll already be aware, trucks and other large vehicles are less maneuverable than cars and bikes, they take longer to stop and weigh a great deal more than the average vehicle, making the likelihood and consequences of crashes even greater.
It’s for these reasons that truck drivers must be on high alert when driving at this time of year.
For tips and advice on how to drive your vehicle safely during the winter months, please see the infographic below.
Driving a Truck in Winter Responsibly
First and foremost, you – as a driver – should modify the way you drive your truck during hazardous conditions. Start by easing off the accelerator – speed isn’t everything, and your truck has a much longer stopping distance on slippery or icy roads …in fact, it’s double! By driving at a slower pace, you are at a much lower risk of being in a serious or fatal accident if you do have to emergency brake.
On top of reducing your speed, you should also endeavor to drive smoothly during the Winter months. Try to avoid turning sharply, as this can cause you to lose control of your truck and risk a potentially fatal accident. Finally, give yourself an increased distance between you and the car in front of you; braking suddenly is extremely dangerous on snowy or icy roads and giving yourself extra room to stop is the best way to avoid the need for any sudden braking.
Use fleet management software
If you haven’t already invested in fleet management software, then doing so is a great way to keep your drivers safe while driving a truck in winter.
Once implemented, you will be able to integrate telematics data with this type of software, with the main goal of running reports on driver behavior. By doing so, you will be able to identify specific drivers within your fleet who will benefit from extra training, to help keep them safe during the colder months.
What’s more, fleet management software can be modified to send updates regarding locations to drivers with higher risk scores, and new starters to ensure that they are taking the safest and most efficient route possible.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
Nobody wants to be involved in a crash, but the simple fact is that accidents do happen and it’s prudent for you to prepare for any eventuality.
Carrying de-icer or a windscreen scraper is a must for any truck driver during the colder months – as is packing a warm blanket and extra clothes …you never know how long you might get stuck for!
Moreover, you should always carry extra fuel. Running out during freezing conditions is extremely dangerous as you could be left stranded in the middle of nowhere and it may take a long time for recovery vehicles to reach you.
Other essentials you should include in your winter survival kit include a flashlight in case you have to make repairs in the dark and jump cables in case you have to seek help from a fellow driver to get your vehicle up and running again.