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Whether it’s your first or your one hundredth trip on the road, driving in winter weather will never cease to be one of the most challenging driving conditions. Of course, skills and experience help. But proper knowledge, sound judgement and good decision-making are just as important. To ensure safe travel during the winter months, always keep these driving tips in mind and follow them the letter.

Before the trip

  • Get the proper amount of rest to prepare yourself for the long drive and reduce safety risks.
  • Watch or listen to weather reports so you can postpone your trip or map out alternate routes as needed.
  • Check to make sure that your vehicle is in proper working condition. Check your tires, lights, fluids, and windshield wipers.
  • Don’t drive unless your fuel tank is at least half full.
  • Have extra supplies ready. This includes rain and winter gear (gloves and jacket), a thick blanket, extra food and water, a first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries, windshield washer fluid and scraper, extra wiper blades, salt or sand (to put on your tires and prevent them from spinning), batteries and electronic charging equipment, jumper cables, tire chains, and anti-gel (to treat your fuel when the cold weather hits).
  • Check to see that your load is balanced and evenly distributed.
  • Put on your seatbelt.

During the trip

  • Start slower. Accelerate slowly. Drive slower. Brake slowly. Icy roads mean poor traction. And icy or rainy weather means poor visibility. By driving at a slower speed, you’ll have more time to react to changes in traffic and road conditions. There’s less chance for hydroplaning or losing steering control due to water buildup between the road and your vehicle’s tires.
  • Give yourself ample room to move. That means always having enough space behind you and in front of you so you’ll have time to stop when you need to. Keep in mind that the stopping distance on an icy surface at 0 degrees is double the amount needed to stop at 32 So instead of the normal 3 – 4 second safe following distance, you need to double it to about 8 – 10 seconds.
  • Aside from having space in front and back, you also need space on your sides so avoid travelling as part of a pack.
  • Maintain a steady grip on your steering wheel. Avoid sharp and sudden movements that might lead to loss of control. Don’t use cruise control.
  • Watch out for black ice. It’s that ultra-thin layer of transparent ice that forms when temperature gets close to freezing, makes the road look like a water puddle and causes it to become very slippery. Black ice usually forms under bridges, shaded spots, intersections and overpasses. When you see ice building up on your mirror arms, your windshield or antennas; or you see the spray from tires of vehicles ahead of you stop, you’ll know it’s time to start looking out for black ice.
  • Drive extra carefully when passing through mountains. Be prepared for quick weather changes, sudden gusts of wind and melting snow. Stay away from avalanche zones and follow all posted rules.
  • Make occasional stops to keep your lights, windows and mirrors clear and free of ice for as much visibility on the road as possible. But only do it at safe spots and designated stops and not on the shoulder of the road where poor visibility conditions might cause other vehicles to slam into you.
  • If you begin to skid, do the following:
    • Pump, don’t slam or lock the brakes.
    • Shift to neutral position.
    • Maintain control by steering the wheel towards the direction you want to go.
    • When the skid ends, instead of stopping, return to first or second gear, then accelerate gently to regain your traction.
  • When in doubt, stop. Wanting to get to your destination within schedule is natural. But it will be more costly to force yourself to continue driving when you can clearly see that you can’t because driving conditions have become too unsafe.
  • In case of an emergency:
    • Don’t panic and stay calm.
    • If you need to call for help, then call for help.
    • Stay inside your truck and wait it out of wait for help to arrive. Don’t make the situation worse by going out and looking for help, unless there’s absolutely no other choice.
    • If it’s dark, keep your dome light on or consider tying a bright red cloth and hanging it on your window so you can be seen more easily.
READ  Freight Shipping

Winter conditions make the roads more dangerous. To ensure you reach your destination safely — stay alert, stay focused and stay in control. Safe Travels…

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