Driving on snow and ice-covered roads can be treacherous and dangerous for even the most experienced trucker. Not only do you need to be careful with handling your own rig, you need to watch out for other drivers on the road that might not be as careful or as experienced with driving in hazardous conditions. And because you need to get your load delivered, you do not always have the luxury of taking the day off either. Here are some tips on how you can handle snow and ice while driving your rig.
The most important thing to do while driving a big truck in snow and ice conditions is to slow down. Posted speeds are intended for optimal weather conditions, not snow and ice. Speed can kill not just you, but anyone else who may be sharing the road with you.
When it comes to snow and ice-covered roadways, there is no safety in numbers. If possible, safely break away from the pack and travel alone. This will help maximize the distance around all sides of your rig.
You should always maintain a safe driving distance between your truck and the vehicle in front of it. This distance needs to be increased with hazardous driving conditions to allow you enough time to brake without skidding or spinning out.
Avoid using your jake brake, especially on icy roads. Be careful when using your foot brake. You should not overuse it unless your entire rig is absolutely straight on the road. If your entire rig is not straight, your trailer can slide and cause your cab to spin out of position, especially if the trailer is empty.
Make sure to keep your lights as clear as possible. If snow, ice and dirt have built-up on your lights, it is not just your visibility that suffers. Drivers around you may not be able to see your rig. LED lights are especially susceptible to build up because they run cool instead of hot, so snow and ice will not melt away. Pull off to a safe place and clean your lights off when needed.
Do not stop on the shoulder of the road, especially when visibility is bad. Try to pull off to a safe area off the roadway instead. If you are on the shoulder, can be difficult for other drivers to judge distances in blinding snow. They could think you are in a travel lane and then slam into your rig’s rear.
The team at Cargobot is concerned for the safety of all truckers and everyone on the road. Remember, even if you are being pressured by your dispatcher or customer, your safety is what matters most. If road conditions are hazardous, do not risk your safety because you are afraid that you are letting people down by not arriving on time. Any reasonable person is not going to want you to risk your life. Always use your common sense. If the weather conditions are too risky, get off the road to a safe place to wait until road conditions improve.