Semi Driver Safety: Preparing for Winter Road Conditions

Published on
Jan 11, 2018
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Temps are dropping, and snow and ice are cropping up across the country. While regular employees can call off work when road conditions are hazardous, long-haul truckers often don't have that luxury. But taking the right precautions can lessen the risk of stalled vehicles and accidents. Follow these winter semi driver safety tips to make it safely to your destinations.

Winterize Your Windshield

It's critically important you prepare your windshield to handle the amount of snow and ice you'll encounter during fierce storms. Before you take your truck out, look for cracks in the windshield that could worsen. Even a small crack can become a larger problem when water gets inside it and freezes, causing it to expand. You can also treat your windshield with products like Rain-X, which help coat the glass and reduce snow and ice build-up.

Carry Cat Litter for Tire Traction

If you find your truck tires spinning over lack of traction, there's a simple solution. Carry cat litter in your cab, and if you get stuck, lay it out in front of and around your tires to get a grip. This handy trick can help you get enough leverage to pull yourself out of slippery spots.

Don't Brake if Your Trailer Slides

When a semi-trailer begins to slide on its own, you're facing a major hazard called jack-knifing. When this happens, your trailer can get ahead of your cab and can push or pull it out of control. To prevent this issue, keep calm and never slam on the brakes. Instead, maintain your lane and take your foot off the gas and brake pedals to see if the trailer regains traction. If the trailer continues to slide, apply slight acceleration until it's back under control.

Pack Snow to Avoid Stuck Tires

When you stop at a dock, rest area, or your destination warehouse, use your tires to pack down the snow. Drive your truck back and forth approximately 10 feet, several times, to get better traction when you pull out. This will also cool down the tires, which will prevent snow under the tires from melting and re-freezing while you're stopped.Reckless winter driving can be a hazard to every vehicle that is out on the road. Preparing for winter road conditions will allow you to keep your truck in control at all times, so you reach your destination.