Winter driving tips for truck drivers

One of the most worrying things when starting a journey is the weather. Bad weather may make driving difficult, and most accidents occur in winter. That's why we've put together some helpful winter driving tips for truck drivers.

Besides checking the weather forecast and preparing a kit in case you get stuck in the snow, there are also habits from more experienced transporters that can be very helpful for you. Here are the best tips for carriers driving during winter.

Good braking system: your best ally when driving during the winter season

Precipitation is most common at this time of year. Therefore, for water, snow, or ice, it is advisable to deactivate braking systems linked to auxiliary aids and to bear in mind that the braking distance will increase considerably. In the case of snow or ice on the road, all tires should run on the same surface to avoid losing grip. In addition, you should avoid other vehicles if you notice that there is ice on the road.

In flat areas, you should drive in the highest gear possible, while on downhill slopes, you should drive in low gears (taking advantage of the engine brake). Not touching the brake is key, as you could lose control of the truck. What happens if you have to start from a standstill in snow or ice? The first thing to do is set the wheels straight, gently release the clutch, and not move the steering until the truck moves. Don't leave the handbrake on when parking, as the brake pads could get stuck to the disc due to freezing. Instead, place a wheel chock and leave one gear engaged.

How to "winterize" your truck

You are now the best driver on the road, but what if your vehicle doesn't respond? A winter-ready vehicle is just as important as good driving skills. For your safety, perform maintenance and winterization before the bad weather arrives.

Winter tires are the best investment during this season. They provide better traction in cold temperatures and in snow, sleet, and icy conditions. Also, remember to install a new pair of winter wiper blades. Those are heavier and have a protective rubber coating. This allows them to push off snow and ice more quickly than summer wipers.

It is also advisable to start the engine and let it idle until it reaches optimum temperature. If you do it too quickly after your truck has been subjected to intense temperatures, the friction elements may be too cold, which will shorten the engine's life.

Winter driving tips and tricks

Before heading out, you may be interested to read these tips for the more cautious ones. Carrying a hammer and a putty knife is also smart when you drive in the snow. These two tools can be very helpful if your air tanks freeze.

Has it ever occurred to you to carry cat litter? Hot tires can turn the snow you've parked on into a patch of ice in no time. Pouring cat litter under the tires is a clever way to get that little extra traction needed to get you going.

Last but not least, always drive with your headlights and taillights on, even during the day. This way, other road users will be able to see you. And a clean set of headlights and/or fog lights can help you know what's ahead.