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Back on the Road

A Blog by TA & Petro Stopping Centers

Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

Snow, black ice and other cold weather conditions can challenge even the most experienced truck drivers. Winter weather can result in poor visibility, decreased traction and can increase the unpredictability of other travelers on the road. Learn how patience, planning and other driving skills can help keep you safe this winter.

Be Patient and Plan Ahead

    1. Slow down and account for increased stopping distance. Controlling your speed should be at the top of the list for safely navigating through winter weather. Ice and snow will decrease tire traction, making it more difficult to stop. Stay safe by decreasing your speed and increasing the distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

    2. Avoid sudden braking. Sudden stopping can cause your brakes to lock up and your truck to skid, which can be especially dangerous in inclement weather.

    3. If you do begin to skid, remember to pump your brakes. Locking them up will only make matters worse. Control the truck by turning the wheel in the direction you want to go, and remember to accelerate slowly to maintain traction.

    4. Check your headlights and mirrors. Before your next trip, brush any snow off of your headlights and mirrors and make sure all lights on the vehicle are working properly. This will help improve your visibility and will help other drivers see you as well. 

    5. Use good judgment. While there are several measures you can take to improve your safety during winter, it's also important to know when to get off the road. If the weather is too severe to continue on your route, find a good place to get off the road safely and wait until conditions improve.

Be Aware of Trouble Areas, Road Closures and Snow Plows

When the roads are slick and covered in snow and ice, it’s important to be aware of the following trouble areas. Take extra caution during winter when you come across:

  • Exit ramps. Fast, sharp or sudden turns, especially on exit ramps, can cause you to lose control on slick roads.

  • Bridges. Take caution when passing over bridges, as they’re the first to freeze.

  • Black ice. Be aware of these spots in freezing temperatures. It may just look like a wet road, but these can be extremely dangerous for any driver.

  • Intersections. Be cautious when approaching intersections; slow down sooner than you usually would when approaching stop signs or red lights.

  • Unplanned road closures. Even if you’ve already mapped out your next route, winter conditions can change in a matter of minutes, causing unforeseen road closures. Slow down if you see flashing lights ahead; follow the direction of the road crews and law enforcement and listen to local radio for road announcements.

  • Snow plows. Professional truck drivers committed to safety know that snow plow drivers are committed to the same goal. Snow plow drivers work through the worst winter conditions with the least amount of visibility. Give them extra space, distance and patience so they can do their job as well. 

Call for Help

Even with proper planning and patience, emergencies can still happen. Prepare for unexpected emergencies by making sure you have at least some of the items on our winter weather supplies checklist. In the event you do experience an emergency, don’t hesitate to call a roadside assistance provider for help. If you’re looking for reliable roadside support, we trust 1-800-824-SHOP.

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