Fall is here and that means many things. The temperature is cooling down (finally!), leaves are starting to change colors and drop from their branches, the sun is going down earlier, and unfortunately, fall also means that winter is just around the corner.
Fall is beautiful time and luckily the high level of freight we saw this summer has continued. Everyone in the transportation industry knows that winter isn’t the best time of year for trucking. Freight typically slows down and weather causes many headaches for drivers and dispatchers alike.
During these times it is important for drivers to keep a few things in mind, mostly safety and health. Most drivers will already know these safety tips but a few reminders never hurt anyone, in fact, they just might save some lives.
-Perform proper pre-trip ad post-trip inspections. Pay particular attention to windshield wipers, lights and lenses, mirrors, tires, windshields, coolant level, defroster, heater, hand-holds, deck plates, and the exhaust system.
-Before entering traffic, get a feel for how your unit reacts to the road surfaces by accelerating and braking lightly.
-In adverse road conditions it may take an additional 300 to 600 feet to stop your vehicle. Increase your following distance by two to three times.
– Watch your clearance on snow packed roads. The extra snow on the road can add inches to the road.
– Be alert for patches of ices and snow. Even though the road may be cleared ice can still be on or under bridges, exit ramps, curves, and shaded areas.
-Watch for black ice. Anytime the temperature is below freezing and the road looks wet, there may be a thin layer of ice that is difficult to see. Watch for tire spray, if there is not spray coming off your tires or off vehicles around you, then you may be on black ice.
-Turn on your signal and leave it on for longer before you change lanes. Move over slowly.
-Don’t be afraid to use your hazards and drive slowly in the right lane until the visibility/road conditions improve.
-Be prepared. Have the right equipment and clothing, and enough food and water in case you do have to pull over and wait it out.
-RELAX, be calm and think rationally. Remember your training and you will be fine.