We recently just experienced the first snow up here in the Pacific Northwest. While the autumn weather is becoming harsher, the air is crisp. This means one thing – winter is here. Yes, winter is a beautiful season with the idyllic carpet of fresh snow, warm fires and celebrating the holidays. However, TWT commercial refrigerated truck drivers know that the snowy landscape means severe, and sometimes treacherous driving conditions.
As most truckers will know – operating large commercial refrigerated trucks in the winter months can be a risk. Are you aware of how severe the risks can be in icy conditions? According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24% of all vehicle crashes and accidents each year are caused by winter-related weather, like sleet, snow, fog, rain, and even wind. It is essential that TWT Refrigerated drivers prepare before winter arrives to ensure trucks are fully functional to manage any issues that may arise during bad weather.
How does winter weather impact truck drivers?
During winter months, Mother Nature is not on the side of TWT Refrigerated drivers. Most TWT Refrigerated drivers will spend more time on the road in dark and snowy conditions. Even the most experienced TWT Refrigerated truckers are not exempt from the risks of severe weather conditions. Harsher weather conditions affect the capabilities of the truck and driver – including stability, traction, maneuverability, roadway conditions and crash risks. Besides the driving hazards, the colder temperatures impact the truck’s fuel economy.
So, to help prepare you for a potentially brutal winter we are offering (5) five winter driving tips for TWT Refrigerated truck drivers to keep you safe during the colder seasons.
Prepare for the Worst – Plan for the Best
The winter weather is quite unpredictable. What may seem like a straightforward route can quickly become a danger if the weather quickly changes. Therefore, we suggest being prepared for the worst case scenario by having an emergency winter kit on hand.
- Windshield scraper, extra blades, washer fluid
- Jump Cables
- Tire chains
- Essentials: charging equipment, radio (you may not have a signal), batteries, gloves, first aid kit, plenty of food and fluids, and an extra jacket.
Speed is a known killer in safe driving conditions – Imagine speeding in winter weather. Many accidents and fatalities caused in the winter months involving trucks and other motorists are due to excessive speeds. Although it may be the legal speed limit, it is not always a safe speed during icy, snowy road conditions. Plan your route by giving yourself extra time to drive safely. Slow speeds will keep you and your fellow motorists safe in the winter weather.
Give Yourself Extra Braking Distance
During harsher conditions increase the distance between your truck and other vehicles. The average stopping distance should increase by 8-10 seconds on icy, snowy and slippery road surfaces. Be aware of the road to avoid braking and skidding off the shoulder. The extra distance will give you more time to react safely.
Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Even on your regular routes drivers need to remember the following winter trouble spots along your journey. Your regular safe route can quickly change due to snow, rain and freezing temperatures. During the winter weather be aware of:
- In windy areas you will need to control your steering when you encounter strong winds.
- Brake earlier than usual at red lights or stop signs to avoid the truck slipping off the road.
- Bridges are typically the first surface to freeze
- Black ice is sometimes tricky to spot as it looks like a wet road. Remain extra alert and drive cautiously when temperatures are below or near freezing
Keep Your Truck Well-Maintained
Before heading out, TWT Refrigerated requires all drivers to do a safety check pre-trip and post-trip. In winter months, we recommend that TWT Refrigerated drivers check the following are in good or excellent working order:
- Tail Lights
- Treat your fuel
Our TWT maintenance teams, located at each terminal, are always available for some preventive check-ups for all drivers.
Are you currently working for a carrier that doesn’t recognize and reward your accomplishments? Are you frustrated with your current pay package and lack of career opportunities where you are right now? Join TWT Refrigerated! We value our drivers and appreciate the essential work you do. If you’re a refrigerated or heavy haul truck driver in the western region or west coast with a CDL Class A License, apply for a TWT truck driving job today! We can’t wait to hear from you. APPLY NOW >