Driving a tractor trailer in serious Canadian winter conditions, demands a
specific set of skills for all drivers, especially big rig drivers. Too many
drivers on the highways do not alter their driving habits, when driving in poor
weather conditions. Good maneuvering and skid
control skills are essential in poor weather.
and implementation of proper, preventative safety skills for driving in poor
conditions, can truly separate the seasoned driver vs a
driver who is just starting their career. They have the knowledge and experience for
making good decisions and are cognisant when conditions are not safe, and when it’s time
to ‘get off the road’.
bad weather, especially in snow and on ice, is risky due to more ‘˜stop time’
required, poor visibility, poor traction and the increased unpredictability of
other drivers on the road. The job of a truck driver becomes
increasingly challenging, especially when handling a tractor trailer and a full load in foul
Safe Winter Truck Driving Safety Tips
down ‘“ Accidents during suspect conditions are mostly due to excessive speed. Driving at the
speed limit may be legal, but is often too fast for snow covered or icy road
conditions in our Country. Take as much time as necessary. DO NOT HURRY! Speed is dangerous.
This rule should ALWAYS be at the top of any winter trucking safety tips list.
a safe following distance ‘“ Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of
your truck, and beside your truck, when possible (approx. 1/4mile).
travel as part of a pack ‘“ Traffic seems to move in ‘˜packs’ on the highway. Find a safe way to
get away from the pack and travel alone, with the goal being to maximize the
distance around your vehicle.
follow the tail lights of the vehicle ahead ‘“ When the snow is so heavy, visibility is low,
seeing the tail lights of the vehicle ahead’¦means following too closely.
a safe driving distance back at all times, especially in bad weather. If the leader makes an
error, you will too. Trucks can leave the road, and yours could follow the lead
truck off the road.
good, solid judgment ‘” If the weather is so severe that you need to get off the road’¦.. do
it. Find a place to get off the road safely and wait until conditions are safer for travel.
stop on the shoulder of the road ‘“’“ Especially in low visibility situations, when
driving in winter, especially ‘˜blinding snow’, other vehicles can mistake your
position for being on the road and as a result, may slam into the back of your
try to be a hero -When the road conditions are severe, you need to recognize that it’s
very dangerous to be out there. Hours of service rules, dispatchers etc., are
extra pressures when it a difficult, dangerous position. Don’t feel that you’re
letting anyone down by not meeting a scheduled appointment.
Braking – Some drivers
like to use the jake brakes in less than perfect weather conditions. Some
don’t. DO NOT ENGAGE THE JAKE BRAKE ON ICY ROADS. Try to avoid overusing your
foot brake, unless the entire unit is absolutely ‘˜straight’ on the road. Don’t
over brake when the entire unit isn’t straight’¦ the trailer can slide and spin
you out of your position’¦..the truck slows down, and the trailer does not. This
is especially true, when the trailer is empty.
“all systems’ are a go” – Be absolutely certain during your circle checks before you
leave, that the defroster and heater are working properly. Wipers, wiper motor,
lights, esp. brake and tail lights, washer fluid is topped up, drain moisture
from the air tanks, all brakes are set up and windows and mirrors are
completely clean before departure.
fuel tanks topped up, for extra weight over the drive tires, to aid with traction. Good quality lug tires, with the proper
tire pressure, are essential for good traction for the best safe winter
tractor and trailer lights clean – When you’re able to stop in a safe place, clear
the lights off of snow and ice, which builds up in foul weather’¦.they are
vital, more than ever when visibility is poor. LED lights especially accumulate
snow and crud. Keep everything clean, so you can BE SEEN!
If you have any safety tips to share or would like to hear more about Winter Driving.
Please contact: 204 632-6600