When ice and snow pile up on roadways and biting winter wind snarls across the highway driving snow and debris, over-the-road truck drivers say it’s time to drive with wide-open eyes and ears.
Inattentive drivers who take a business-as-usual approach behind the wheel, regardless of the weather, cause many winter driving accidents. Some trucking companies, such as Select One Group, put their drivers through special winter driving courses to keep them and their vehicles safe when the weather turns nasty. While that training involves eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer rigs, the lessons involving foul weather driving apply to everyone:
- Learn to control a skid – steer into the skid and use brakes only lightly
- Never tailgate – it won’t get you there any faster and it seriously decreases reaction time in the event of loss of control
- Remember that eighteen-wheelers create their own wind patterns – when you drive next to one for more than a few seconds, your vehicle could be affected by unexpected turbulence and road debris
- No distractions – driving in bad weather, especially on a roadway filled with heavy trucks, is no time to fiddle with your iPod, radio or phone.
At S1G, which transports specialty motor vehicles and complex mobile exhibits nationwide, Drivers say they have seen motorists continue to do everything from eating to fixing makeup to texting, even in the worst winter driving conditions. Auto safety experts urge drivers to adopt a new mindset during winter storms: pay strict attention to driving, other traffic and road conditions. Everything else can wait until you reach your destination – alive.