​If one of your drivers became stranded during a snow storm, would they have the necessary tools to survive until help arrived? It may sound extreme, but the winter presents many unpredictable challenges and hazards for drivers. With additional pre-trip planning, your drivers will be better equipped to handle obstacles that may arise when driving during the winter.

Drivers should dress appropriately for the winter by wearing loose-fitted, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. They should always keep with them a hat that covers their ears, a heavy coat, and insulated waterproof gloves and boots. A good rule of thumb is to advise drivers to dress for the worst possible winter weather. 

In addition to winterizing their wardrobe, drivers need to winterize their trucks. During pre-trip inspections, they should check antifreeze levels, make sure the wipers are not worn or inflexible, wipe clean and repair all lights and mirrors, examine brake adjustments for any defects, and inspect the battery and exhaust system. Drivers should make it a practice to regularly clean all mirrors and lights at scheduled stops and rest breaks during winter weather. Snow and ice buildup or road salt spray will greatly dim the brightness of lights and the ability to be seen by other drivers.

It’s also important to check the tread on tires and add tire chains as needed. Tire chains should be inspected prior to use to make sure there are no broken links. Drivers should be aware of tire chain laws in every state in which they operate. A descriptive breakdown on each state’s tire chain requirements can be found at http://tirechainsrequired.com/laws.html

Drivers should also check the weather forecast for their route, making note of winter storm watches, warnings and advisories that will cause poor driving conditions. Useful websites for weather forecasts include the National Weather ServiceThe Weather ChannelCNN andintellicast.com.

Allowing extra travel time and familiarization with alternative routes in advance of trips are useful steps to take. If the weather is severe, some roads may be closed or blocked. It can also be helpful for drivers to chart fuel and meal stops along their route, paying close attention to long stretches between stops so they can plan accordingly.

Another important step is to put together a winter emergency kit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the kit include the following items:

  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Matches
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets or sleeping bag
  • Extra clothing
  • Road salt or sand
  • Emergency flares

Even if drivers become stranded at a truck stop, their emergency kit with non-perishable food and water will be useful. If the weather is severe enough to strand your drivers at a stop, it’s not likely the trucks that deliver supplies to the truck stop will be able to make it there. With the high volume of drivers that could be stranded at a truck stop, food resources could be depleted quickly.

  • Categorized in:
  • Driving Techniques
  • Transportation Safety
  • Weather Conditions
  • Vehicle Inspections
  • Seasonal Driving Tips