Driving trucks in winter can be very different to driving trucks at other times of the year. The nights are longer and darker and the conditions are heightened, with more frequent adverse weather conditions.
It is essential, especially for haulage and transport companies that truck drivers operating large vehicles are fully aware of the surrounding dangers.
To help you prepare to stay safe this winter, we have designed a few top driving tips for heavy duty vehicles and haulage companies:
- Take it steady
It’s best to brake and accelerate slowly in harsh conditions and avoid sudden stops or starts in icy or rainy weather. If you do find a situation where you need to slow your truck down suddenly in adverse conditions, try slowly pumping the brake using the ball of your foot whilst keeping your heel on the floor – this reduces the chances of your tyres locking, whilst helping you maintain control of your truck.
- Stay back
Keep a safe distance back at all times, particularly in bad weather. If you’re too close to the driver in front and they make a mistake, you will too. In icy conditions, the stopping distance required for your truck is twice the amount as in normal conditions, so keep that in mind when you’re about to apply the brakes.
- Be prepared
It may seem obvious, but keeping an eye or an ear on the weather predictions can be key to staying safe. If a blizzard or a snowstorm is predicted on your route it’s essential that you plan effectively around it, whether it be to allow more time or take a different route entirely.
- Pay attention to the tyre spray
This is a very important winter truck driving tip and can be a simple, effective indicator of the caution needed on the roads. If the vehicles around you are producing lots of tyre spray then the roads are obviously very wet. If the tyre spray is relatively less, then it means the roadway has started to freeze which requires you to exercise greater caution.
- Know your limit
When the road conditions are severe, it’s vital to recognise the danger which can arise. It’s important that you know you and your vehicle’s limitations. If the conditions are seriously bad, don’t chance your luck. Keeping you and others safe is the main priority!