The holidays may be over, but winter weather is still posing significant challenges for CDL-A truck drivers across the country. From slick streets to poor visibility, inclement weather makes driving hazardous for anyone out on the road. Fortunately, there are preventative steps professional drivers like you can take to increase the odds of a safe, successful return home.
Pre-trip. Never forget to pre-trip! A proper pre-trip inspection before each route can save you from a host of unpleasant surprises down the road. This includes cleaning off your headlights and taillights every time you stop!
Plan ahead…but expect the unexpected. Be sure to check a reliable news source or weather app before starting your next route, so you have some idea of what’s in store. But know, too, that weather can change in an instant, so it’s best always to be prepared for the unexpected.
Beware of black ice. Black ice is deceptive because it simply looks like a wet patch of road. It’s best to treat any spot that looks “wet” as if it’s ice; approach with caution.
Treat your truck. Colder temperatures can cause fuel to gel. When temps are in the teens, be sure to use a reliable fuel treatment to keep your diesel flowing! And when temperatures fall to single digits and below, keep the main engine running when parked.
Speaking of parking… Just because you’re off the road doesn’t mean you should relax your winter weather awareness. Always be mindful of where you park, keeping away from lot entrances and staying out of the wind.
Stock up. In the unlikely event of a breakdown, you’ll want to be prepared. Always keep extra food, warm clothing, water, and blankets in your truck. You’ll also want to have things like a flashlight, jumper cables, tire chains and snow scrapers on hand too. It’s bad enough to be stranded on the side of the road in decent weather…but it can be downright deadly when it happens in the winter.
Slow your roll. It goes without saying but bears repeating: When roads are snowy or icy, drive slowly, steer slowly and brake slowly. Higher speeds and fast movements can easily send your truck into a skid or jackknife.
Keep away from crowds. Let your truck have a little extra space when traveling around other vehicles. Keeping at a safe distance will give you additional time to react in the event of a sudden stop.
And finally, keep your eyes and ears open. At Carter Express, we like to stay in constant communication with our drivers, especially in the case of late-breaking weather alerts. Always keep your eyes peeled and ears open for incoming news from dispatch and take all warnings seriously.
Winter weather may be out of our control, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it. Follow these steps before, during, and after each trip to ensure safe delivery each and every time – and come to Carter Express, where we always make safety our number one priority!