If you’re a trucker who often works in cold environments, you know how difficult operations are in those conditions. To make matters worse, the snow and ice that pile up on your rig pose an immense danger to the cars behind and around you. However, not everyone can climb up on their vehicle and clear the snow by hand, as this may be a violation of safety regulations. To protect both yourself and others, here are a few simple ways to keep your truck clear.
Park in a Covered Area
If snow and ice are frequent concerns, you should always try to park in a covered area. Doing so will keep the nasty weather away from your rig. If this isn’t an option, secure a heavy-duty tarp over the top of your trailer until it’s time to go.
In several states, failure to remove snow and ice from a truck is now illegal. For repeated offenses, some truckers may lose their licenses. To prevent a citation or ticket, do the best you can to keep debris off in the first place, so you don’t have to clean it later on. If you’re concerned about snow, keep this tidbit in the back of your head when it comes time to pull over.
Use an Air Compressor
It takes a lot of time and physical strength to manually clear off slush, so many drivers typically don’t make this part of their routines. They should, though. In 2006, 35% of those in the industry said snow and ice from their trucks had caused injury to others. That’s why it’s always best to stay on the safe side.
An easy way for truckers to keep their trailers clean is to use an air compressor, also known as a snowblower. The pressurized air quickly removes debris, which makes the task so much easier. There are dozens of compact cordless devices on the market that you can keep at home. Fleet owners should look into commercial versions of this product that they can install in their facilities.
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Check With Truck Stops
Those who drive in particularly frigid areas encounter this issue all the time. To help with this, local companies and facilities on your route may offer a service that removes snow for you. While there are several types of gadgets, most scrape off the snow automatically. These are drive-thrus with attached with brooms or rakes that remove anything that has accumulated on the roof.
All this allows you to rest assured you aren’t putting yourself and others in danger. Always check if there are areas nearby that can assist you with this problem. A fee is usually required to use these tools, but they’re worth it in the long run.
Go Through a Truck Wash
While not an ideal solution, as excess water can freeze and recreate the original problem, a truck wash will clean your trailer thoroughly. This process costs money, but facilities that offer washes are generally widely available.
Typically, pressurized water is used to spray down the rig and eliminate all dirt and debris. If the temperature is about to heat up, or this is the only answer you can find, locate a truck wash near you. It’ll handle snow and ice buildup, as they may also apply a weather protectant.
Practice Safety Measures
If you must climb on top of your rig to clear everything off, be sure to wear the right kind of fall protection. If you don’t, you may violate OSHA trucking standards. Have someone stand nearby to spot you, and only do so when there’s enough daylight outside.
Place tools, like a shovel and scraper, in an area when you can reach them, but they won’t get in the way. Large multiple-foot snow scrapers are also available, which you can use while standing on the ground next to your rig. Above all else, listen to your instincts — there are often better means to remove snow and ice that don’t involve putting yourself at risk. Fleet owners should always provide their truckers with the proper equipment to keep them safe.
As temperatures remain chilly, there’s always a threat of snow and ice on the horizon. To protect yourself and other drivers, be sure to keep the top of your rig free from all debris. This not only saves lives, but also keeps you from violating the law. Similarly, ice is heavy and adds a few pounds to your trailer’s overall weight, which may put you over the limit.
All in all, each winter season, strive to make use of one of these removal methods. When in doubt, consult your company to see what solutions they have on hand for their operators. Safety should always be the top priority.