For many states, winter weather has just begun. As we continue to see snow, sleet, wind, ice and cold weather in multiple areas of the U.S., it’s important to be prepared and aware of your surroundings. Whether you are a professional driver or a carrier with many drivers on your team, here are some valuable winter weather tips to protect your freight, equipment and most importantly – yourself and others on the road.
Bring Necessary Supplies
Be prepared for the unexpected. Always bring a snowbrush and ice scraper, anti-gel to treat your fuel, extra warm clothing, blankets, prescribed medications, food and water. Delays can happen especially with weather-related road closures. You never know when this could come in handy, and you’ll be glad that you brought these supplies.
Monitor the Weather and Carefully Plan Your Routes
Be sure to check the weather at your pick-up and delivery locations and areas that you’ll be traveling through. Some useful weather sources include Weather.gov, AccuWeather and Weather Underground. Be sure to plan ahead and communicate any issues with your fleet manager or dispatcher.
Werner professional drivers have an in-cab device that will show an alert if there’s an area under an active weather warning. With weather alerts such as a Blizzard Warning, Winter Storm Warning or High Wind Warnings, you should be parked in a safe haven until conditions improve.
Always do a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection
Before you get behind the wheel, do a thorough check of your equipment to make sure everything is functioning properly. No matter the weather, a professional driver should always perform a pre-trip inspection, and during the winter months, you will be extra thankful that you did. There’s a lot of factors to prepare for when driving in winter weather. A few of them include reduced visibility caused by falling snow, road spray and darkness due to shorter days. To prepare, during your pre-trip inspection, you should check all of your lights, make sure your mirrors are clean, your windshield wipers are in good condition and your washer fluid bottle is full.
Be Knowledgeable About Your Freight
It’s important to be considerate of the freight you are hauling during these colder months. Be cautious in all the places your freight will travel through during transit, not just the pick-up and delivery locations. Items such as food, beverages (especially carbonated liquids like soda) and cosmetics can be damaged if exposed to colder temperatures. Reefers or cargo blankets may need to be utilized for temperature-sensitive items.
As you prepare for winter weather, make sure safety is always your top priority. While on the road, be aware of your surroundings and watch closely for brake lights on vehicles ahead of you. Slow down and increase your following distance between other vehicles. Be extra careful on bridges and entrance and exit ramps.
Always use your best judgment as you determine what is best for your personal safety and the safety of others and communicate this with your fleet manager or dispatcher. Remember, nothing we do is worth getting hurt or hurting others.