Winter is here and with it comes the potential for inclement weather, including snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain. For those who drive trucks for a living, it can mean treacherous and dangerous road conditions. Drivers and truck companies need to ensure that their trucks are prepared to handle frigid temperatures and icy roadways. There are steps to take to prepare these massive vehicles for the cold weather, as well as precautions that drivers can take when they are driving. The following steps will help protect the driver, as well as any innocent bystanders who happen to be driving nearby.
What are Some Ways to Protect Trucks in the Winter?
Truck drivers travel throughout the United States for most of their hauls. With the prospects of at least two more months of winter, much of the nation will be battling cold weather and occasional winter storms. It makes sense for drivers to have their trucks prepared to deal with the elements before they go out on the road, which include to:
- Check the tire pressure: Cold weather can slowly reduce tire pressure, impacting tire tread life, fuel economy, and the driver’s safety. In addition, using valve caps will help limit buildup of ice and moisture in the valve core.
- Apply tire chains: Installing chains on the tires is useful for those drivers who regularly travel through snowy and icy conditions.
- Conduct a thorough cleaning: Before the weather gets too cold, it makes sense for drivers to do a thorough cleaning of their vehicle, both inside and out.
- Check the battery: Batteries tend to use more power in colder weather, so it is important for drivers to check their power levels early in the season. It also makes sense to verify the battery’s inspection date to be sure that it is not past due.
- Check on diesel fuel: In some instances, the diesel fuel used in trucks can gel in colder temperatures. It is best to use high octane-rating and anti-gel additives in the fuel.
- Test the cooling system: Once the engine has cooled, it is ideal to pressure test the coolant. In addition, it is advised to double-check all the heater and water hoses for any weak spots.
- Check the fuel filter and water separator: The water separator should be checked every day and drained when it is full of fluid. The fuel filter should also be repaired. These changes will help prevent contamination and keep the engine running well.
- Check the engine block heater: Those who drive diesel trucks in cold weather should consider an electric engine block heater. Diesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature than regular gas, which makes them more difficult to start in cold weather.
- Check the air dryer: The air dryer must be functioning properly as it keeps water out of the brake line. Without the dryer, the water will freeze, which can result in a dangerous situation for both the driver and any surrounding vehicles.
These steps are simple preparations that could save a significant amount of time when a person is out on the road.
How Should I Stock My Truck in the Winter?
Another step toward preparing for winter driving is to pack the truck with effective supplies for the cold weather. Some of those supplies should include:
- De-icer and ice scraper: The front windshield and other windows should be clear of all ice before departing.
- A shovel and a bag of sand or salt: A route will sometimes take a truck down a road that is not treated as well as others. These items will help if the truck happens to get stuck.
- Jumper cables: These come in handy when a driver cannot get his truck to start or wants to lend a helping hand to someone who cannot get their vehicle to start.
- Flashlight: This will help to see if the truck gets stuck when it is dark. With less daylight, there is a greater likelihood of getting stuck at night.
- Visible jacket: Remaining visible in darker light is a way to protect drivers.
- Warm blanket and clothing: Blankets and warm clothes should be stocked in case the driver is stranded overnight.
- Food and water: Drivers should pack non-perishable food items and water if they become stuck for an extended period.
- Gas: Always make sure the truck has at least a half a tank of gas.
What are Some Winter Driving Safety Tips?
Even though the truck might be prepared to handle the cold, ice, and snow of the winter, it does not mean that it is completely safe. Drivers need to take certain precautions when they head out on the road. Some ways to execute that strategy is to:
- Watch for black ice: This is a thin layer of ice that forms on the top of a roadway but is barely visible to the naked eye. A key sign that ice is possible is if there is an ice buildup around the windshield. Drivers need to take it slow in areas that look susceptible to black ice.
- Be aware of adverse weather conditions: Drivers should also pay attention to their local weather report to keep on top of any storms that might be coming through. If possible, they should get off the road before a storm hits.
- Alternate speed: Since road conditions vary, the driver should match the speed to accommodate the road conditions. In general, they should slow down when road conditions worsen.
- Do not follow too closely: In bad road circumstances, it is common for cars to bunch up together. Drivers should not fall in line with this and instead keep their distance. The closer one is to another vehicle, the less reaction time they will have to stop short, which could be even more difficult on slick and icy surfaces.
- Watch for warning signs: Being observant about the state of the roads and the conditions of other drivers can be a telltale sign that there is a problem.
- Get off the road: If the conditions are too dangerous to proceed, then drivers should not hesitate to get off the road. Drivers should pull over and avoid any type of incline in case they get stuck.
Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Advocate for Victims Injured in All Types of Truck Accidents
Winter driving can be dangerous if a driver does not take the necessary precautions or practice the appropriate safety measures. If you were involved in a truck accident, reach out to the Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC today. Call us at 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online for a consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.