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Surviving Snowstorms: Essential Tips for Truck Drivers

By Williams Logistics, Inc on 1-11-2024

Surviving Snowstorms: Essential Tips for Truck Drivers

Snowstorms can pose significant challenges for travelers and semi-drivers. Navigating adverse driving conditions, facing zero visibility, and avoiding getting stuck in snow are just a few hurdles to overcome. In this blog, we will explore what adverse and severe driving conditions entail, outline essential preparations, offer driving tips for snowy conditions, and more.

What is Adverse Driving Conditions?

Adverse driving conditions refer to any situation where the state of the roadway makes driving more challenging than usual. Rain, fog, snow, sleet, strong winds, and ice are common adverse conditions. 

What is Considered Severe Driving Conditions?

Severe driving conditions, on the other hand, occur when adverse conditions become even more treacherous, making driving critically dangerous or impossible. This includes heavy snowfall, blizzards, or severe ice storms, which create dangerous roadways.

What Does a Snowstorm Look Like?

A snowstorm is a severe weather event characterized by heavy or blowing snowfall, often accompanied by strong winds and low temperatures. Apart from significantly reduced visibility, snowstorms can create treacherous driving conditions due to accumulations of snow and ice on road surfaces.

Zero Visibility Driving for Truckers

Zero visibility driving can be a major challenge for truckers on the road. When visibility is severely limited due to fog, heavy rain, or snow, it can be difficult to see the road ahead or other vehicles on the road. This can make it dangerous for truck drivers to navigate and requires extra caution and skill. In such conditions, truckers should be extra attentive to road signs, markings, and any potential obstacles on the road. By taking these precautions, truckers can help ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road during zero visibility driving conditions. Here are other tips to prepare for and drive in a snowstorm

How to Prepare for a Snowstorm

  1. Monitor weather forecasts and road conditions regularly before embarking on a trip.
  2. Ensure your vehicle is in optimal condition, including functional wipers, good tires, proper snow chains and adequate fluids
  3. Pack emergency supplies, such as extra warm clothing, blankets, hand warmers, non-perishable food, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, cat litter, extra fuel and a fully charged cell phone
  4. Try to leave earlier, later, or take another route to avoid severe weather

When Driving in Snowy Conditions, What Should You Do?

  1. Equip snow chains if necessary.
  2. Reduce speed and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
  3. Activate hazard lights and use low-beam headlights to improve visibility for other drivers.
  4. Avoid sudden braking, acceleration, lane changes, or other abrupt maneuvers. Instead, brake gently and earlier than usual.
  5. Steer into skids, focusing on the direction you want the vehicle to go.
  6. Approach hills with caution, maintaining steady speed and momentum.
  7. Follow the tire tracks of previous vehicles for improved traction.
  8. Stay updated on weather conditions and consider stopping if visibility becomes dangerously low.

Additional Tips on How to Not Get Stuck in Snow:

  1. Drive on main roads that are more likely to be cleared.
  2. Avoid sudden stops that can cause your tires to lose traction.
  3. Slowly accelerate to maintain control on slippery surfaces.
  4. If you feel yourself getting stuck, avoid spinning the wheels excessively, as this can dig you deeper into the snow.

How to Survive a Snowstorm While Hauling Freight

  1. Stay informed of weather and road conditions through radio or smartphone apps.
  2. Park in designated areas during severe storms and wait it out.
  3. Monitor your fuel levels, ensuring you have enough to stay warm if stranded.
  4. Maintain regular communication with fleet dispatch or local authorities.
  5. Take breaks when necessary to reduce fatigue and ensure your safety.
  6. After a rest, clean off headlights, taillights, and license plates to ensure proper visibility

Conclusion

For truckers, snowstorms present unique challenges that require careful preparation and adaptability. By understanding adverse driving conditions, preparing for snowstorms, and following safety guidelines, truckers can minimize the risks associated with challenging winter weather. Remember, in severe conditions, it is vital to prioritize your safety and that of others on the road. Stay informed, be cautious, and remain alert when driving under snowy or icy conditions.

Want additional helpful tips for wintertime driving? Check out this blog for driving in snowy conditions.