We spend a lot of time here at our blog writing about the many financial benefits that invoice factoring can deliver to a trucking company or independent trucker’s bottom line. It can fuel growth and help free much needed cash flow. You can read about transportation factoring ins-and-outs at our website and peruse the many benefits at our blog. From time to time we like to blog about trucking topics aside from factoring like we did recently on the importance of tire pressure to smooth trucking success, and with winter weather making an early appearance this year, we thought a post on driving safely in bad weather might be timely.
If you’re a trucker, I’m sure you’d agree that truck driving in general can be dangerous. But mix in winter weather and high winds and it can be treacherous. Here are 6 safety tips to combatting these elements:
- In high winds, be aware of your sail area. Some large trucks can have over 500 square feet of sail area and this can be a problem in high winds. With a high sail area in windy conditions you need to slow down. High speeds create different wind pressures under and around your rig, which has a tendency to artificially increase your sail area. Bottom line… if it’s really windy slow down or pull over until the high winds subside.
- In high winds, be aware of your weight. Empty trailers in particular are more prone to high winds. This is not to say that a loaded trailer is not a hazard in windy conditions, but it’s not as dangerous as an empty trailer. And use extreme caution when loading your trailer, by spreading out your load.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. This is true for both windy and wintery conditions. Other vehicles (and trucks as well) that share the road are contending with the same conditions as you are. Give them lots of space in front of you and use extreme caution when passing. And always be aware of your blind spots – off to the side just in front of the cab, just behind the side mirrors, and directly behind the truck.
- Spend extra time on your pre-trip. Plan your route carefully and with the weather in mind. Check your favorite trucking apps to inform yourself on any road closures, weather reports, or traveling hazards. Be sure to check your tire pressure and drain the air from both the truck and trailer tanks – condensation in freezing weather can lead to frozen brakes! Don’t forget extra windshield washing fluid as it tends to go fast in bad driving conditions.
- Carry your tire chains. Make sure they’re the right size and be sure to bring along bungees, cam lock t-handles, warm gloves, a pad to kneel on, and a flashlight. And perhaps most importantly, be sure to pull off the highway to put them on. The side of the road in a snowstorm is not the place to chain up!
- Carry all the personal equipment you’ll need for bad weather, including snow boots, hats and gloves. If you’ll be bedding down in your cab be sure to have extra blankets. You’ll want to make sure your phone is fully charged when you set out and make sure you have your phone charger at the ready.
At the end of the day no payload is more important than your safety and the safety of those around you sharing the road. Use precautions while driving in treacherous weather, and when needed, just pull off the road and let the poor weather pass.