Winter is the least favorite time for drivers. And especially for truckers. Driving heavy trucks in cold, snowy, slippery periods is a laborious and sometimes dangerous process that requires special skills and additional concentration.
Therefore, many truckers refuse to work at this time of the year or take the road with caution, preferring short and simple routes. But you can stop being afraid to drive trucks in winter — just follow the basic, simple rules.
Specials of Driving a Truck in Winter
Driving trucks in November-February has some special features. Otherwise, unforeseen situations may arise, including a traffic accident.
By the way, if you nevertheless find yourself in a force majeure, do not panic. Contact the dispatch service (here you can get more information about the functions of this department). They guide drivers on further actions and assist in resolving the problem.
Dangerous winter phenomena include:
- temperature below 25 С;
- road rutting.
Many are familiar with the unpleasant sensations that appear as a result of a skid on a slippery road, or due to reduced visibility because of snowfall.
The Impact of Truck Weight
A truck, due to its weight, is more stable than a passenger car. However, because of the large dimensions, the inertia also increases. In winter, the trucker has to constantly take into account the weather and road conditions, as well as the load and weight of the vehicle.
Truck weight has a big impact on handling, especially on slippery roads and snow. No matter how well the highway is treated with anti-icing reagents, it can still be dangerous. It is necessary to drive carefully.
What to Do With Ruts
Another common and unpleasant phenomenon is the appearance of ruts. They occur on poorly processed and small roads, after heavy snowfall (when the services have not yet cleared the carriageway).
The danger of ruts lies in the fact that the truck becomes poorly controlled, and any sharp maneuver can easily throw the vehicle onto the side or into the oncoming lane. Therefore, rutted roads should be avoided if possible. Or drive observing the speed limit.
Temperature Changes & Driving
Sharp changes in air temperature in winter lead to the formation of ice. Truck driving on such roads becomes extremely dangerous as the vehicle loses its stability and traction. It is necessary to drive on the highways with ice at low speed, without making sudden maneuvers, keeping a large distance between road users.
Below are the basic rules of behavior for a trucker during winter trips, which will help you feel more confident and not be afraid of bad weather. Drive with no risk for yourself and other traffic participants.
1 — Relax
Stay calm and do not panic. Especially if you drive a truck in winter and find yourself in difficult road conditions. If you are nervous, it can affect your reaction. As a result, it may become excessive or insufficient. It is better to stop somewhere in a suitable place and take a breath, calm down, and tune in to the further journey.
Do not forget the main rules that apply when you drive any truck — to avoid sudden movements, to use the gas and brake pedal as little as possible, and to handle the steering wheel carefully.
2 — Control Your Speed
If you drive your truck fast, be sure to halve your speed when the weather worsens. It is better to learn the skill of slowing down a car, specifically on snow or ice — this way you can safely reduce the speed of your truck in a short time.
In addition, if you drive a truck with relatively low ground clearance, then reducing its speed will minimize the formation of snow adhering to the bottom. Namely, this snow always prevents the truck from moving unhindered on the road.
3 — Be Careful
Your actions when you drive on the winter road must be completely controlled and deliberate. Remember that rapid acceleration, as well as harsh braking and sharp turns of the steering wheel, can cause loss of control while skidding.
Maintain an optimally low speed when you drive the truck. Keep your distance from other vehicles at the angle necessary for your emergency braking. All movements should be smooth and careful, not abrupt.
And if something happened you must inform the truck dispatcher. For example, ask your question on this site of the Logity Dispatch company, and soon you will get answers. And don’t drive until you calm down.
4 — Use Lights And Signals
Be sure to turn on the low beam headlights in inclement and cloudy weather. This will help other drivers to see your car from afar. Also, do not forget about the sidelights when you drive the truck or stand on the sidelines in this weather.
Many truckers around the world use a special technique when they drive on the highway, to change lanes from row to row. In dry or rainy weather, in autumn, summer and spring, before changing lanes, the driver turns on the turn signal of his truck. And they start the maneuver only after it blinks three times. But in winter, it is best to start lane change after the signal flashes 4 – 5 times.
If, for some reason, your speed of a truck in winter is lower than that of other road users, drive to the right lane and turn on the hazard warning light. In addition, turning on the hazard warning light will prevent the congestion of vehicles behind you. Drive by rule and line. You are responsible for the flags up and down on the road.
5 — Particular Care On Icy & Slippery Roads
Pay attention to the water on the road under the wheels of other trucks. If there is a lot of spray from passing vehicles, then the highway is very wet at the moment. In this case, you need to take additional precautions. The point is that at negative temperatures snow or ice melted from wheels or a reagent begins to freeze quickly and makes a skating rink.
If you suddenly see that the road is quite wet, and there is practically no splashing of water from trucks, then be even more attentive and drive the truck carefully at such a moment. This road surface is the most dangerous. The absence of splashes on a wet highway may tell you that most of the water is simply frozen and that a thin layer of ice covered the asphalt.
Truck Driver Behavior On Ice
It is difficult and dangerous to drive a truck on the ice. When driving, do not turn the steering wheel sharply. And when braking or turning, it is forbidden to change gear. Drive by line and level, show your expertness on the road.
If the truck is in a skid, immediately change the method of braking: drop the brake pedal, reduce the engine speed. Turn the steering wheel of the truck in the direction where you plan to move. Otherwise, at the moment of gas supply, the truck may jerk towards the inverted wheels and an accident cannot be avoided.
By following these simple rules, you will be able to drive a truck during the winter. Avoid sudden movements, stop and calm down. Call the dispatch service and report the problem, or ask professionals here. Be self-confident and drive carefully to complete all the freight orders risk-free and on time!