Fresh snow can put truck drivers and equipment in some slippery situations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement.1
As your fleet is hauling holiday gifts, you can use (and share) the winter truck safety tips below.
Adjust driving habits
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a few recommendations to help drivers steer clear of accidents on slick roads.2
- Prepare for longer stopping distances: Large trucks need up to two football fields to stop safely, and the stopping distance can become even longer in rain, snow, or ice. Increase following distance and leave extra room between your truck and other vehicles when the road is slick.
- Leave extra room for turns: Winter weather increases the risk of trucks skidding out on turns, so try to make wide, slow turns when roads are wet or icy.
- Maintain a slower speed: The FMCSA recommends reducing speed by a third on wet roads and by half or more on snow-packed roads. To prevent accidents, drive trucks slowly and cautiously in winter conditions. Pull off the road if need be.
Check on equipment
Certain vehicle parts need more care as the temperature falls. In the winter months, pay extra attention to:
- Tires: The air in tires contracts as temperatures fall, which can create a drop in tire pressure. Truck tires must also have good tread depth, and mudflaps should be in good working order. Tire chains are good to have in your vehicle in case extra traction is needed.
- Fuel filter and water separators: Condensation can build up and clog filters. As part of trucking safety, monitor the water separator for build up and drain it when it it’s full.
- Windshield wipers and fluids: Ensure wipers are in good shape and that there is plenty of windshield wiper fluid in case it snows while you’re driving.
- Oil: Engine oil can get thick in cold weather. Using a lower viscosity that’ll work in cold climates can help truck drivers reduce the risk of engine problems.
Stay ahead of the weather
Knowing what’s ahead can help prepare your fleet for safety on the road. The Relay mobile app has real-time weather notification about weather changes along a route. Additionally, it has driving safety tips that suggest the best course of action.
The app, available on iOS and Android, also offers commercial navigation with truck-specific features that route drivers to Amazon drop-off and pick-up sites. Routes avoid country and neighborhood roads, low bridges, and road segments restricted by the Department of Transportation.
1 Federal Highway Administration, “Rain and Flooding”
2 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Hazardous Weather Graphics”