Tips for Driving in the Snow with a Tractor Trailer

February 12, 2019 Published by Leave your thoughts

We don’t see a whole lot of snow here in Flagstaff—the occasional dusting, sure, but nothing like the blizzards our fellow Americans in the north and Midwest have to deal with. Still, for those of you who are truck drivers, it is likely you go on some long cross-country trips that involve having to drive through snowy and icy weather. Therefore, even if you’re local to Arizona, it’s still worth knowing how to drive in the snow with a tractor trailer, because chances are you’re going to have to do it eventually.

With this in mind, here are some tips from a mobile mechanic in Flagstaff, AZ to help you make sure you’re prepared to navigate snowy roads safely with your rig:

  • Slow down: This is the most important step you can take. Most accidents in snowy conditions are caused by drivers who think they can continue to drive at the same speed they normally would. This is misguided and dangerous—you should take as much time as needed to drive safely in the snow.
  • Increase your stopping distances: Along with going slowly, increasing your stopping distances is another big step you can take to stay safe in winter driving. This means to leave plenty of room between your truck and the vehicle in front of you, and to start letting your foot off the gas earlier than you typically would when approaching a stop light or stop sign.
  • Don’t slam on the brakes: Again, letting your foot off the gas over a longer period of time is preferable to an over-reliance on the brakes in bad weather conditions. You should likely apply the brakes over a longer distance as well, but don’t expect that you’ll be able to slam on the brakes and immediately come to a complete stop, especially with a vehicle of your size.
  • Don’t stop on the shoulder: It can be tempting to pull off onto the shoulder of the highway when visibility is low, but this can be a mistake—other vehicles might not realize you’re off the road, or that you’re stopped, and could slam into the back of your rig. If you’re going to get off the road due to unsafe conditions (which is a good idea in some circumstances), get off at an actual exit and find a safe place to park and wait out the storm. Rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and other types of facilities are ideal.
  • Make sure your lights are on: Any time you’re driving in inclement weather, it’s crucial that you make sure all of your lights are turned on and operational, and that you use your blinker. In addition, before you head out on the road, make sure your lights are clear of snow so that they’re not invisible to other drivers.
  • Pack some essentials: Be prepared! In addition to your mandatory emergency kit, have some extra blankets, clothes, snacks, a shovel and other items that could help you in wintery conditions.

For more information about navigating snowy roads in your truck, contact a mobile mechanic in Flagstaff, AZ at Maclin Truck & Trailer.

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