You’re in an unfamiliar town, trying to get back home. You still have miles to go, and it’s the middle of winter.
You’re traveling down a typically busy highway, and it’s snowing heavily. Your line of vision is mere feet in front of your vehicle, and you can’t tell where the ice patches are.
Your heart pounds a little faster than usual because you depend not only on yourself but those motorists around you.
What do you do?
We don’t often think ahead and prepare for these situations as civilian drivers, but roadway safety should be the priority for a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver.
When inclement weather strikes, preparation is everything. Not only does each state have its own rules and regulations, but we have a nationally accepted declaration of roadway safety tips in our hands.
The upcoming winter months bring unpredictable weather, like snow, ice, and heavy rain.
Every motorist’s job is to stay safe and pay attention to any roadway.
However, for a professional driver on the road, it means watching their actions and the actions of others – the job depends on it.
There are so many trucker safety articles available at your fingertips. Here’s another. Consider these eight inclement weather roadway tips, and be prepared when nature strikes this winter.
You must know where you’re going, which roadways you’ll be on, and the weather conditions in each area. States and cities, even twin cities, do not always provide similar weather conditions. Know where you’re going and what you’ll need to be prepared for at all times. Being in unfamiliar places can cause confusion. Coupled with that, inclement weather can be disastrous. Formulate a plan.
The last thing you’ll want to do in icy, snowy, or cold, rainy weather is be stranded on the side of the road. This can cost you time, money, and business. Avoid any events that might result in malfunction while driving. Stay safe and be preemptive.
While traveling all over the country, especially in the middle of nowhere. Be sure to have precautionary materials with you at all times. Always have a cell phone, warning devices, snacks, water, blankets, a medical kit, and an ice-scraper. Anticipate any situation.
It is very unsafe to travel at average speeds when there is a risk of icy and slick roadways, especially if you’re on unfamiliar roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggests slowing down by ⅓ of your speed just on wet roads. Sliding is a considerable risk when it comes to any motor vehicle. Reduce your speed to limit this risk.
Use your headlights
Turning your headlights on can increase the distance you can see in front of you. It’s essential to be aware of everything around and in front of you when traveling—Alert oncoming traffic of your presence by keeping your lights on. Stay visible.
If the regulatory 4/32 inches of tread is not offering you enough traction, you’ll need tire chains to better grip the road surface. Be sure to carry the appropriate size chain and check them for any damage before using them. Ensure you are up to date on the tire chain laws in the state(s) you’ll be traveling in.
Pay attention to spacing
Be sure to keep a more considerable distance between yourself and other vehicles. Never drive beside other motorists and always slow down preemptively when you see traffic hold-ups. Doing otherwise risks skidding and accidents when any party loses control on the road. Give them space.
Clearance markings aren’t always accurate when there is snow and ice present. The two can quickly reduce the clearance height, making your vehicle incapable of passing. Take things slowly when approaching bridges or other clearance zones, and be sure to know the limits of your vehicle. Be alert.
Many of these roadway tips may seem simple, but when faced with high-stress situations in high-risk areas, anyone can become entangled in their worry.
Just remain calm and truck on. Always practice safe driving, no matter the weather, and stay vigilant!