Official winter starts for truckers when the temperature goes below minus 5 degrees. It becomes hard even for professional truck drivers to deal with icy roads. Driving on bridges is more challenging because they freeze first. Apply winter driving tips for truckers you learned in driving school. I salute truckers who sail through icy roads despite the weather. I always monitor Ontario winter road conditions on radios and the internet. Here are some winter driving tips for truckers.
Truck tire pressure
The most important is making the vehicle ready for winter. Monitor tire pressure regularly, maintain it winter friendly. Generally, it is between 95 to 105 psi but keeping it at a higher level is good. Always read tire company manual to stay at the best. Maintain battery at an acceptable level and keep it corrosion free. Check the working of heat and mirror heat, seriously you need mirror heat in rain, freezing rain, and snow. Monitor oil level regularly.
Winter Survival kit
Keep diesel tank full. Must have following items in your bunk before you hit the road
More then one – windshield washer, snow chains, snowmelt salt, sandbag, containers of engine oil and antifreeze.
At least one – pair of safety shoes, safety vest, gloves, triangles, booster cable, first aid kit, flashlight, windshield scraper, snow brush and snow shovel.
Following distance on icy roads
Now you are on the road, concentrate on driving, time to apply winter driving tips. Avoid sudden braking, try to slow down by downshifting. If you have to stop immediately, don’t brake hard. Safe following distance is better, increase it as per road conditions. Measure the following distance from a stationary object, start counting seconds when your leading vehicle passes that object. Safe following distance for tractor trailer is 4 seconds. If you are driving at 40 mph, keep it up to 7 to 8 seconds from your leading vehicle. Conditions go worse if you are driving at night and freezing rain starts. Avoid driving in such conditions, park, and sleep. Do not apply trailer brakes to hold at intersections, always cover your brakes while crossing intersections.
Monitor road conditions
Monitor mirrors regularly, more frequent then summer. Visibility drops quickly if it is windy after the snowfall. Try to follow the lights vehicle in front of you. Following a tractor-trailer at safe distance is good in such weather conditions. Do not try to pass in snow and windy weather. Watch your mirrors for tire spray. If tire spray is more than you can continue at a good speed, it is water and mud. The road starts to freeze when tire spray goes down. It may turn to black ice any time, no tire spray on the iced road. Maneuver slightly and slowly on the ramps. Speed posted on ramps is for cars.
Finally, it is easier to say everything, hard to do in a fraction of seconds. Still, every collision is preventable. Apply defensive driving tips for truckers and have a safe winter.