Even an experienced trucker can run into problems on icy or snowy roads. With the snowy season fully upon us, it seems like a good time to review some basic safety reminders that everyone driving a big rig should keep in mind.
Here are some tips that can keep you — and others — safe when the snow is falling or there’s ice on the ground:
Mechanical checks are important
While you should always check your vehicle out before you hit the road, it’s especially important in bad weather to test your brakes and tire pressure before you head out. You can’t afford sluggish brakes on slick roads. Low tire pressure can also contribute to slide-outs and generally make it harder to control your rig.
Slow speeds are essential
Slow down. The majority of accidents occur because drivers try to rush. There’s a natural inclination to hurry if you’re on the road when the snow starts falling, but you need to fight that pressure and go even slower. A slow speed gives you more time to react if there’s a problem, and that could save your life.
Increase your follow distance
Whatever distance you normally keep between your rig and other vehicles, you should double it — or even triple it — in bad weather. A big rig weighs around 80,000 lbs., which is massive compared to the average vehicle (which weighs in around only 5,000 lbs.). Because of that, you need 40 percent more time to stop your rig than a car needs — and that time increases when the roads are slick.
Winter safety on the road is mostly about forethought and common sense. While none of these tips are mind-blowing, you’d be amazed how many truckers don’t think about the basics when they’re heading out.
Anyone who experiences an accident with a big rig knows the kind of devastation that can happen. If you’ve been injured, there may be compensation available to help you and your family.