Heightened winter weather conditions on the road create driving hazards that require extra attention. Snow and ice present unique challenges for drivers. Being highly aware of weather conditions can prevent unexpected circumstances and get you to your destination safely.
As part of the Our Roads, Our Safety campaign, the FMCSA has mapped out helpful tips for commercial vehicle drivers, which include:
1. Drive defensively.
Commercial drivers have to be constantly vigilant to stay aware of any unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers and motorists who don’t understand how commercial vehicles operate. Scan ahead about 15 seconds for traffic issues, work zones and other dangers. It’s also encouraged to check mirrors every 8-10 seconds to be aware of vehicles entering your blind spots.
2. Use your turn signals.
Signal and brake to give other drivers plenty of time to notice your intentions. If you need to pull off the road, use flashers, reflective triangles and road flares to alert approaching drivers.
3. Know when to slow down.
When you drive too fast for weather or poor road conditions, it creates risks for spills and rollovers, as well as crashes.
4. Maintain your vehicle.
Make sure that pre-trip safety inspections are completed, especially on your truck’s tires and brakes. Check that your load is well balanced and secure. Loose materials create road hazards.
5. Buckle up.
Safety belts save lives, reduce injuries and allow drivers to stay inside and in control of their vehicles in case of a crash.
6. Get enough rest.
Don’t drive a commercial vehicle when you’re feeling fatigued, too ill to focus or on medications that make you drowsy or dizzy.
7. Stay up to date on weather and road conditions.
Getting the right information helps you plan your trip. Be aware that non-commercial navigation systems and apps may not provide warning of height and weight limitations, as well as other commercial vehicle restrictions.
8. Practice work zone safety.
Slow down, maintain extra following space and be prepared to stop. Obey all work zone signs and signals. Scan ahead for changing traffic patterns, and be alert to vehicles entering your blind spots.
9. Never drive distracted.
The odds of being involved in a crash, near-crash or unintentional lane deviation are 23.2 times greater for truck and bus drivers who are texting while driving. Eating, drinking, interacting with a navigational device, map reading, controlling a pet, or any other activity that takes focus off the road can also be a deadly distraction.
If you must do something other than driving, get off at the next exit or pullover – it’s not worth the risk.