Driving in snow and nasty weather is a challenge, but when you’re behind the wheel of an semi truck, it can be even more difficult. As the driver of an 80,000-lb. truck and trailer, you need to put to use all of the tricks of the trade and safety tips that you can whenever you are on the road. Here are some of those tips and tricks to help you reach your destination in safe and sound condition:
- Stay right where you are: If you feel that the weather is simply too bad to drive in, then stay parked. Give your dispatcher a call and explain the situation. Ask for the load you’re carrying to be rebooked. A nervous truck driver is a dangerous driver.
- Know what the limits of your equipment are: You should be very familiar with your truck and how it performs in rotten weather. If you don’t believe it will operate safely, then stay where you are.
- Get your windshield warm: When there is ice and snow built up on your windshield, it’s imperative that it is cleaned before you take off. Mix a little bit of brake line antifreeze in with your window washer fluid. This will keep all of the alcohol from evaporating out of the washer fluid, so no frozen fluid is left on your window.
- Keep kitty litter on-hand: It doesn’t take long for the warm tires of your truck to melt the snow underneath when parked on snow, leading to a slip and slide nightmare. In order to negate this process, simply throw some kitty litter under your tires. Not only will you get the traction you need to get moving, but it’s also environmentally friendly.
- Watch your trailer tires: When you’ve just picked up a trailer, make sure the wheels are moving. If the trailer brakes are frozen, then there could be one of two things wrong. First, it could be that the shoes are frozen to the drums. First, tap the drum with a hammer when the red button is pushed in. Second, it could be a valve that is frozen. Some methyl hydrate through the system can help melt it.
- Keep a putty knife and a hammer close by when traveling in a lot of snow. Get under the truck and ensure that there is no ice or snow built up on your air tanks. Compressed air is much cooler, so any way that you can keep the snow or water from building up will keep it from turning to ice.
Cold Weather Supplies Every Trucker Should Have
There are many road supplies that you should keep in your truck during cold weather. These include:
- Plenty of warm clothing
- High quality boots and insulated socks
- An extra sleeping bag or blanket
- Extra food and water
- Fuel conditioner
- Extra fuel filters
- Propane lighter and regular lighter
- Windshield washer fluid
- A fully-charged cellphone
These are just a few of the items that you should keep in your truck when you are traveling cold weather routes. Remember that it is better to have something and not have a need for it than to need something and not have it.
Staying safe while driving a semi truck is not only imperative for your safety, but for the safety of other drivers. Easing your stress level while driving will help you stay calm while on the road. Remember that no truck driving job is worth giving your life or costing another person his or her life. Do what you must do in order to stay safe.