It’s no secret that winter weather creates many hazards for everyone on the road...especially commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. You never know what to expect when driving in the winter; the roads are covered in snow, you’re driving through icy conditions, and the weather changes fast. It’s important for drivers to be prepared for anything.
Tips to Keep You Safe This Winter
With December around the corner, it’s time to talk about staying safe on the road this winter. Here are the top 5 things to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road during these snowy months:
1. Never Forget Your Pre-Trip Inspection
Doing a pre-trip inspection is the most important thing you need to do before hitting the road. Completing a thorough pre-trip inspection will allow you to identify potential issues before they become a serious problem or lead to a violation. Here are a few things to double check before you start driving in winter conditions:
- Make sure ice and snow are removed from your vehicle including the hood, roof, lights, windows, and steps
- Double check that the coolant level and antifreeze is full
- Ensure heating and defrost equipment is working
2. Be Prepared for the Weather
It's difficult to know exactly what type of weather conditions you will be driving through. That’s why it’s extremely important to be prepared in case of any situation. Our advice? Have a winter safety kit on hand to carry all of the essentials and the things you would need in case of an emergency. Here's what we suggest:
- Traction mats
- Waterproof gloves
- A flashlight
- Food and water
- A blanket
- A reflective vest
- Jumper cables
- Extra washer fluid
3. Plan Your Route
You don’t always know where your next trip will take you but take a look at your initial route; what does the weather forecast say? What type of roads or highways will you be on? By planning your route ahead of time it will give you an idea of what you are up against in bad weather conditions.
There are many applications that can help plan your trip. We recommend the Road Hunter app! Thousands of truck drivers use
this app to plan their route with truck stops, weigh stations, and rest areas while avoiding severe weather and low clearance bridges.
The Weather Channel app is also a great resource for getting ahead of bad weather. You can take a look at the upcoming forecast, or you can take advantage of the feature that notifies you when there are severe weather alerts so you are constantly kept up to date about the weather conditions around you.
4. Be Cautious and Stay in Control
Ensuring deliveries are on time is your job, but it isn’t worth risking your safety and the safety of others. Increased speed leaves more room for error and doesn’t leave enough time to react quickly. The smartest thing to do in bad weather is to keep to the right, maintain a suitable speed for the conditions, and give yourself enough space in front, and behind
your vehicle. Use extra caution when it comes to bridges, on- and off-ramps, and intersections. Icy surfaces and sharp turns are no match for a large truck or motorcoach.
It is crucial that you have enough time to brake slowly in order to avoid losing control of your vehicle. Winter conditions are dangerous even for the most experienced driver. Let vehicles pass and leave yourself enough space to move out of harm's way.
Just remember that when you're driving through severe weather conditions if you are uncomfortable the best thing to do is to pull over. With reduced traction and limited visibility you are already up against a battle to stay safe on the roads. If the weather conditions are unsafe and you feel nervous, stay parked or find a safe place to stop. Use good judgment and know your limits.
Stay Connected With BigRoad
When driving in bad weather, it’s important to stay connected. With BigRoad you can! The BigRoad Mobile App has a two-way messenger that allows drivers and dispatchers to easily communicate. Dispatchers can also check to see where their drivers are in real-time using the BigRoad Web App. Right now, BigRoad is giving owner-operators and fleets of all sizes
3 MONTHS FREE when you purchase a DashLink ELD.