Did you know that “17% of all vehicle crashes happen in winter conditions?” (Arevalo). As the weather begins to cool down and colder locations experience their first snowfall of the season, you must be prepared for adverse conditions on the road such as ice and snow. It is important to prepare well in advance since places such as the state of New York will likely see 7 to 12 inches. This could impact travel on Interstate 81, where blowing snow will reduce visibility at times (Austin). This large amount of snowfall can create issues like delays and crashes that can affect the movement of freight. It is important for you to be prepared for the winter conditions while driving, however it is imperative for you to take a step further and ensure you are completely prepared for anything that might happen during winter weather while on the road.
In general, the most important thing you must prepare for is to ensure you “are protected from the cold” (Croke). It is also important to make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit, extra warm clothes, blankets, gloves, boots, hats, plenty of food, water and chip-on ice studs as well as a headlamp for when it is dark. Once you can ensure your personal safety, it is important to adequately prepare your truck for the winter season. (Croke)
As you know, your equipment is your livelihood, it is important that you take measures to prepare your truck to weather the winter months as well. DAT recommends that you:
- Carry a strong tow strap in the event you get stuck
- Add winter wiper fluid that can handle freezing temperatures
- Add anti-gel additives to your fuel if the fuel has not been already treated by your diesel supplier
- This is particularly relevant to those who fuel in the south and then head north with a load
- Carry extra emergency de-ice products to reliquefy gelled fuel and de-ice frozen fuel filters
- Carry extra fuel filters in case they ice up
- Carry a heavy hammer in case the brakes freeze up, especially for those drop and hook trailers that have been sitting for a while
- Test your batteries to make sure they are capable of handling cold starts
- Disconnecting and cleaning battery terminals is also a great idea
- Carry jumper cables in case you need a jump start
- Always carry tire chains and tension cables
- Re-torque lug nuts on all wheels
- Check water and heater hoses and replace any that are worn or cracked
In addition, FreightWaves recommends that you carry kitty litter to help gain traction when needed, a shovel to dig out of snowy areas, a putty knife to chip away ice from unwanted places, and cash in case the snowfall causes a power outage and credit cards are unable to be used. Although a short list, these items can make all the difference in a survival situation during a winter storm.
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Arevalo, Tony. “20 Winter Driving Statistics to Ensure Road Safety This 2020.” Carsurance, 8 Jan. 2020, carsurance.net/blog/winter-driving-statistics/.
Austin, Nick. “5 Items Truckers Should Carry to Survive Winter Storms.” FreightWaves, 29 Oct. 2020, www.freightwaves.com/news/5-winter-storm-survival-items-every-truck-should-have-2.
Austin, Nick. “Drivers Facing Wintry Start to Week in Northeast (with Forecast Video).” FreightWaves, 2 Nov. 2020, www.freightwaves.com/news/drivers-facing-wintry-start-to-week-in-northeast-with-forecast-video.
Croke, Dean. “Preparing for Trucking in Winter.” DAT, 28 Oct. 2020, www.dat.com/blog/post/preparing-for-trucking-in-winter.