December 12, 2023

Top 5 Winter Driving Tips for Over-the-Road Drivers

Snow, sleet or ice – all can be recipes for disaster in the winter. These dangerous conditions lead to thousands of deaths and injuries every year. Applying these top 5 winter driving tips makes a difference in safely getting to your next stop as an over-the-road driver.

1: Slow Down
2: Give Extra Space
3: Watch out for Black Ice
4: Be Mindful of Bridges and Overpasses
5: Maintain Traction on Slippery Roads

Slow Down

It’s harder to control and stop your truck on a slick or snow-covered surface. So, drive slower to give yourself time to react if something happens in front of you. Be extra vigilant and begin to slow down sooner than you usually would. This helps avoid skidding and can help reduce the risk of a jackknife.

Give Extra Space

Increase your following distance enough to have plenty of time to stop for the vehicles ahead of you. Safety experts say when precipitation is present, reduce your vehicle speed by 1/3, and reduce your speed by 1/2 when it’s snowing. If snow is present on the roadway, and you can’t drive the speed limit safely, find a safe place to pull over, like a truck stop or rest area, and wait to drive again until conditions improve.

Watch Out for Black Ice

This time of year, there’s also the hidden danger of black ice. It’s not necessarily always apparent, but one of the ways that you can tell that it is present on the roadway or has the potential to be present is to pay attention to your windshield wipers and vehicles passing by. If you’re starting to get ice build-up on your windshield wipers, then it’s safe to assume that ice might also be on the roadway. When watching passing vehicles, if you know, there’s precipitation in the air but you’re not seeing any road spray coming off the tires, that’s a good sign that the water’s freezing when it hits the roadway. You know there’s ice present, and you should find a safe place to pull over.

Be Mindful of Bridges and Overpasses

“Bridge Freezes Before Road”. Those signs you see ARE true! One of the most dangerous road icing threats comes from bridges and overpasses. That’s because a bridge is exposed to air on all its surfaces – on top, underneath, and sides. That means when temperatures drop, bridges will cool and accumulate snow and ice faster.

Maintain Traction on Slippery Roads

If you have any questions about the condition of the roads, find a safe place to pull over and ride out the storm. Avoid unfamiliar highways or roads with large hills or heavily mountainous terrains. Follow the 5 Tips to Maintain Traction on Slippery Hills and Roads.

By following these top 5 winter driving tips, truck drivers can help ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.