Cold temperatures can make roads dangerous, causing wet and icy conditions that can contribute to traffic accidents. Because of their size and the tremendous momentum they can build on the highways, big trucks like 18-wheelers are particularly at risk of accident in cold conditions. Truck drivers must exercise great caution every minute they’re in the truck seat to avoid crashes.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2015, more than 4,300 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal auto crashes, up 8 percent from the previous year. Wet and icy roads increase the likelihood of crashes, but there are some ways truckers can reduce their risks, including:
- Regularly inspect your vehicle – Make sure that all lights are in good working order and that all your truck’s systems, including the brakes, are in good shape. Mechanical failure accounts for just a small percentage of accidents, but who wants to be a statistic?
- Reduce your speed – The treacherous nature of snow and ice-covered roads makes it imperative for truckers to slow down. Slowing down will help you compensate for poor traction and will also give you more time to react to sudden changes, such as drivers in front of you slamming on brakes or erratic behavior by drivers in oncoming lanes of traffic.
- Know when to pull over – If you feel like driving conditions are too dangerous, pull over. It’s not worth risking an accident.
- Make sure all windows and mirrors are clear – Don’t drive when your view is obstructed. Ice and frost can make it tough to see out of your windshield, windows, and mirrors. Before hitting the road, make sure all windows and mirrors are unobstructed.
- Check your tires – Winter time is no time to be driving on bald tires. Before hitting the highways, be sure to inspect your tires to ensure that they have adequate tread and are undamaged. If your tires appear questionable, replace them.