Let’s take a look at seven rules truckers should follow when snow and ice are present.
1. Temperature and Icing. Everything freezes at 32 degrees, but raised surfaces including your windshield may freeze faster. Even if the roads appear clear, the surfaces may be icy. So-called “black ice” is dangerous, even deadly. Be mindful of the current conditions and travel accordingly.
2. Stay in touch. Your CB radio can keep you in contact with other truckers, with each of you warning the other as you encounter unfavorable road conditions. Stay in touch with other truckers to warn and encourage each other. In the toughest conditions another trucker can be a lifeline with you providing the same.
3. Leave enough room. You already know that it is much harder to stop your truck than it is for a driver of a car to stop his. That stopping distance is magnified when the road conditions are slippery and are even worse when snow and ice are present. You can safely assume that passenger vehicle drivers do not understand what it takes to keep and maintain control of an 18-wheeler.
4. Be mindful of collateral damage. Snow and ice can easily blow off the surface of your truck to the road below. If there is a significant build up of ice, it can slide off the top of your truck and crash on cars passing by in either direction. The weight of ice and snow is potentially deadly; remove as much of it as possible before you continue on your journey.
5. Bring along supplies. Figure that if you’re out driving and the weather conditions suddenly worsen, you may find yourself needing to pull over. Ideally, you’ll arrive at a truck stop and find a warm place to stay. That ideal, however, is not possible if you are far between stops. You can expect that you’ll have to find some place to stay without the comfort of a trucker area. Keep your diesel fuel tank filled, bring along extra blankets, dry food, a container of hot chocolate, and other supplies to keep you going until the weather conditions improve.
6. Mix your diesel. Speaking of enough fuel, you’ll want to mix your diesel when temperatures drop well below freezing especially near zero degrees. Before you top off your fuel tank, pour in an anti-gel additive to mix the fuel. This will keep the diesel flowing under the toughest conditions. Bring extra additive with you on your trip.
7. Get off the road. You’ve got a full load that just has to be there at a certain time on a specific day. If you’re late, you’ll run into trouble, quite possibly losing a customer, even losing your job. Quite frankly, there isn’t a load that is worth your life. Pull over, park your truck in a sheltered area if possible, and wait out the storm. Try to park on an incline to avoid getting stuck. Once the roads clear, resume your trip.
If your truck hits a skid, take your foot off of the accelerator and quickly shift into neutral. Steer the truck in the direction you want to go, shifting back into gear when the truck is under your control. Never slam on the brakes and always wear your seat belt.
Daniel Lewis is a professional blogger that shares the latest news and information on trucking companies across the country. He writes for BestDriverJobs.com, the best source for finding truck driving jobs, owner operator trucking jobs and trucking companies.