Great truck drivers understand that there are countless winter drivers on the roads who don’t drive more slowly, don’t increase space between vehicles, and don’t look ahead so they can anticipate potential problems causing them to brake sharply.
Remember, while driving in winter, as well as looking out for winter driving conditions, you also need to look for drivers who do not. We are the professionals and we need to lead the way when it comes to road safety especially when others are oblivious to winter conditions. Below are some tips for how to prepare and pack for a winter long haul.
Winter prep for the truck and driver
Without working equipment, you’re a sitting duck to the winter elements. To avoid breaking down, continually check your equipment in cold weather. That means your fluids, tires, and batteries need to be working and/or getting power in the cold. To avoid a highway tire blowout, you need to check your tires at each stop as extreme changes in temperature can drastically shift tire pressure.
After you have working equipment, it all comes down to you, the truck driver, to use your best judgement. Pay attention to the forecast before and during your route and identify potential parking areas before you begin. Plan your stops ahead of time and have a Plan B for snow closures. Know your safety limit ahead of time and stick to it — that means don’t simply plan to plow through whatever weather Mother Nature has in store for you. If you feel you cannot proceed due to weather, find the nearest safe place to stop until conditions improve enough to move on. Your best judgement is key.
Avoid slips and falls by wearing appropriate footwear. This rule goes for all seasons, but it is especially important when ice covers your truck. Wear rubberized footwear for more traction, and be scrupulous about the three points of contact rule because everything can be slick in the winter. Check out the Liquid Gear Apparel Store for winter gear and footwear.
needs in the cab
Remember, you will not only need tools and supplies to deal with the weather’s effect on the vehicle, but also the necessities for yourself as the driver to stay safe in any scenario.
Here is what your basic packed bag should look like for winter long hauls:
- Warm winter clothes including jacket, hats, gloves and extra clothing for layering
- Insulated, waterproof boots with a good rubber sole for traction
- Ice scraper, windshield de-icer, and a folding shovel
- Extra food, water, and blankets. If you get stranded for any reason these are essential
- Extra medication in case you are delayed by weather
- Bag of ice melt or road salt
Other Handy Winter Items For Truckers:
- Extension cord
- Candle and Matches
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Spare cell phone batteries
- Tire chains (required in some places)
- Strap-on boot traction equipment
- Jumper Cables
This is the first in a three-part series on winter driving, so follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the next blog. And while you are on social media, leave us a comment about your winter trucking experiences. Was there an item or preparation that you had that saved you from a catastrophe? Is there something you wished you’d had out on the road one winter? Let us know about it!