Tips to Help Prepare Drivers for Winter Driving

November 19, 2018



Make sure your vehicle is ready for driving in winter weather.

During the pre-trip inspection, pay extra attention to the following items.

Vehicle Checks

Coolant level and antifreeze - Make sure the cooling system is full and there is enough antifreeze in the system to protect against freezing. This can be checked with a special coolant tester.

Defrosting and heating equipment - Check to see if the defrosters and heaters work. If you use other heaters and expect to need them (mirror heaters, battery box heaters, fuel tank heaters), check their operation.

Wipers and washers - The windshield wiper blades must be in good condition. Make sure the wiper blades press against the window hard enough to wipe the windshield clean of snow. Make sure the windshield washer works and the washer reservoir is full.

Tires - Check the tread on your tires. You must have at least 4/32 inch tread depth in every major groove on the front tires and at least 2/32 inch on other tires. Use a gauge to determine if you have enough tread for safe driving.

Lights and reflectors - Make sure the lights and reflectors are clean. Check from time to time during bad weather to make sure they are clean and working. Windows and mirrors. Remove any ice, snow, etc. from the windshield, windows, and mirrors before starting.

Handholds, steps, and deck plates - Remove all ice and snow from hand holds, steps, and deck plates which you must use to enter the cab or to move about the vehicle. This will reduce the danger of slipping.

Radiator shutters and winterfront - Remove ice from the radiator shutters. Make sure the winterfront is not closed too tightly. If the shutters freeze shut or the winterfront is closed too much, the engine may overheat and stop.

Exhaust system - Exhaust system leaks are especially dangerous when cab ventilation is poor (windows rolled up, etc.). Loose connections can permit poisonous carbon monoxide to leak into your cab which will make you sleepy. In large amounts, it can kill you. Check the exhaust system for loose parts and for sounds and signs of leaks.

Driving on Slippery Surfaces Slippery Surfaces 

Drive slowly and smoothly on slippery roads If it is very slippery, you shouldn't drive at all. Stop at the first safe place. The following are some safety guidelines:

  • Start gently and slowly. When first starting, get the feel of the road. Do not hurry.
  • Adjust turning and braking to conditions. Make turns as carefully as possible. Do not brake any harder than necessary and use the engine brake or speed retarder with caution as this can cause the drive wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.
  • Adjust speed to conditions. Do not pass slower vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly and watch far enough ahead to keep a steady speed. Avoid having to slow down and speed up. Take curves at slower speeds and do not brake while in curves. Be aware that as the temperature rises to the point where ice begins to melt, the road becomes even more slippery and you must slow down even more.
  • Adjust space to conditions. Do not drive alongside other vehicles. Keep a greater following distance. When you see a traffic jam ahead, slow down or stop and wait for it to clear. Try to anticipate stops early and slow down gradually.
Wet brakes - When driving in heavy rain or deep standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water on the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, apply unevenly, or grab. This can cause lack of braking power, wheel lockups, pulling to one side or the other, and a jackknife if you pull a trailer.

Tags:

Transportation , Safety

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