Winter presents unique challenges for heavy haul trucking, demanding heightened safety measures to ensure the well-being of drivers, cargo, and other road users.
Factors such as holiday travel, increased demand for on-time deliveries, and dangerous roads, mean a comprehensive safety strategy is crucial. Here are our 6 best safety tips for heavy haul trucking during winter.
Conduct thorough pre-trip inspections of your heavy haul truck and trailer. Pay special attention to brakes, tires, lights, and all mechanical components. Address any issues promptly to prevent breakdowns on wintry roads.
This is also the perfect time to scope out your emergency gear to ensure you have everything you need in case of a breakdown or if you get stuck in a snowstorm. Water bottles, flashlights, warm clothing, and blankets are some examples of what to have on hand.
Stay informed about weather conditions along your route. There are plenty of weather apps that make it easy to follow the forecast. Monitor forecasts for snowstorms, icy conditions, or other severe weather events. Plan routes that minimize exposure to adverse weather and be prepared to adjust your schedule accordingly.
Heavy haul loads have complex requirements, as dimensions can be highly unusual. Heavy haulers need to be thorough with how these loads are handled. Uneven weight distribution can lead to instability, especially on slippery roads. Double-check all tie-downs and load securement to prevent shifting during transit.
If you’re traveling through regions with heavy ice and snow, consider equipping your heavy haul truck with winter tires designed for these perilous conditions. These tires provide enhanced traction, reducing the risk of accidents and improving overall safety during winter travel.
Carry tire chains and know how to install them when required. Chains provide additional traction on icy or snow-covered roads, enhancing stability during challenging winter conditions.
Adopt a cautious driving approach, reducing speed to accommodate road conditions. Heavy haul trucks require longer stopping distances, and sudden movements can lead to loss of control. Maintain a safe following distance and avoid abrupt maneuvers.
Prioritize safety over deadlines. If weather conditions become too hazardous, find a safe place to park and wait for conditions to improve. Communicate with dispatch to keep them informed about your status and any potential delays.