Driving in adverse winter weather conditions

With six more weeks of winter in the forecast, over-the-road haulers are taking necessary precautions to ensure they maintain and protect themselves, their equipment, and the items they haul.

Heavy haul drivers in the northern states are generally familiar with the numerous actions that can be taken to best handle winter driving conditions ranging from maintenance, knowledge, and other potentially life-saving conditions. However, much of this knowledge comes from first-hand experience. These tips and procedures can ensure safety for both heavy haulers and others on the road.

First off, many over-the-road drivers recommend basic maintenance and routine washes to help ensure that both the equipment stays clean and also protects the wiring under the hood. This is one of the first and easiest steps that can help ensure that you and your vehicle are protected.

Driving in icy conditions also requires a keen eye on tire pressure. This applies year-round, however during freezing conditions, semi-tractors and trailers generally lose 10-15 PSI of tire pressure. This can cause all sorts of issues down the road if it isn’t monitored closely.

When roads are potentially icy, veteran drivers recommend leaving at least double the amount of space that is normally needed between you and other vehicles. It is also recommended that you know the route that you’ll be taking in order to prepare for adverse terrain with ample time to spare.

Next, keep an eye on the flow of traffic and don’t try to force opportunities if they don’t present themselves. Racing to cut off another vehicle isn’t going to work with adverse weather, and neither will braking heavily. And chances are, if you’re in a congested area, it will only last a little while.

Another major component to driving in winter weather conditions is knowing how to handle sliding across the ice. Don’t counter-steer and do not try to correct a swerving truck by hitting the throttle. When those two things happen, it can be a recipe for disaster. If a semi starts to skid or slide, pointing the steering wheel where you want to go is likely to get the best outcome. Overcorrecting with the steering wheel is where a lot of inexperienced over-the-road haulers get into trouble.

And finally, always expect the unexpected. For example, many veteran over-the-road haulers advise keeping at least one extra fuel filter in the truck (where it is accessible and warm at all times, not in an outside toolbox).

Here at Taylor & Martin, we inspect equipment that is consigned to ensure safety and longevity for our customers to the best of our abilities, but highly recommend personal inspections and follow-up maintenance when making an auction purchase. Click here to view current inventory.