4 things to be aware of as a truck driver in winter

4 things to be aware of as a truck driver in winter

Driving is something that most of us do and is a skill that we all take for granted. We learn pretty quickly that we need to adapt our driving style depending on the conditions, and winter provides us with plenty of extra things to consider.

This is even more true when it comes to driving a truck, so we have taken a look at what truck drivers need to think about when the winter months arrive.

1. Preparation is key

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. In winter it is important to have a good understanding of what you might be faced with before you set off so that you can plan adequately.

The first thing any driver should do is to study the weather forecast and see what Mother Nature plans to throw at you. By being aware of potentially slippery roads, high winds or snow then you can start to predict what you might be faced with.

If you know certain roads might be closed as a result of the weather conditions then you can plan an alternative route, and potentially set off earlier to leave enough time to meet your deadlines or notify people of potential delays. You should keep in mind that reducing your speed can help to reduce accidents massively.

2. Vehicle safety

Andrea Easton, Head of Finance and Operations at Walker Movements commented:

“You should always check your truck before any journey, but this is particularly important during the winter. It is important to check the tread of your tyres, which legally should be 1mm but ideally should be at least 3mm.”

As a driver, you will also want to ensure that you do not have a flat battery and that your mirrors are clean and clear to maintain visibility. It is vital to check your lights, brakes and fluid levels, to avoid fines and to make sure that the vehicle is as responsive as possible.

It is also important to make sure your windscreen wipers are working in order to keep your screen clear and that your exhaust is clear of snow to avoid backing up toxic fumes.

3. Keep kitted up

We can never be completely sure what the weather has in store for us, and breakdowns, accidents and stationary traffic are more likely. It is therefore important to make sure you have some essentials in your cab just in case you are left stuck or stranded for a while.

This will need to include an ice scraper to keep windscreens and mirrors clear throughout and some warm clothing and blankets for when the cab gets cold. A torch should always be handy, and a shovel and some salt might help to get you out of a stick situation.

Packing some extra food and drink will keep you going while you are stuck, and a portable phone charger makes sure that you can stay in touch. You should also pack a set of jump lead to make sure the engine can run, as you will not only need this to travel, but to run the heaters when you are not moving.

4. Sensible driving

The festive rush can put pressure on drivers, but smooth and steady driving is the surest way to get to your destination. Remember to maintain stopping distances, signal early and make sure the truck is as illuminated as possible to maintain visibility. If the conditions do become dangerous, it is always best to pull over and wait for it to clear rather than ploughing on and putting yourself or others at risk.

Remember, winter driving can be challenging so it is important to approach it carefully if your goods are going to reach the destination whilst maintaining the safety of everyone on the roads.