7 Winter Safety Tips All Truck Drivers Need to Know
Driving a truck, especially on a construction site, can be a hazardous job as it is no matter what time of year it is. Making sure to follow all safety procedures and keep workers safe should always be the top priority for both employers and employees. In the winter time, these hazards become even more dangerous, and truck drivers on construction sites should be taking extra caution! Frost, high winds, rain or snow, or extreme cold can all be factors that play into the safety of workers in colder climates. There are some basic precautionary steps that every truck driver should follow in order to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Being prepared is the first step to truck safety on the job. Some ways that you can stay prepared are:
- Keep track of the weather and check forecasts. Being prepared means being ready. If you keep track of weather forecasts and know that extreme weather might be coming, the easier you can follow the next steps and make sure your vehicle is properly prepared.
- Properly prepare your vehicle by inspecting and tuning it. Vehicles should be ready to function at their best in cold or extreme weather with working windshield wipers, cleaned tail and front lights, and much more. They should also be equipped with emergency kits that are made for winter. Some helpful things to include in an emergency kit could be a flashlight with extra batteries, ice scraper, shovel, emergency flares, blankets, food and water, etc. If the car is properly prepared, then it is only up to the driver to ensure safety.
- Make sure the work site has removed ice or snow that is in the way. Ice or snow that could cause safety issues should always be removed by the employer before work. Large chunks of ice or slippery roads that haven’t been salted can cause unwanted accidents no matter how careful the crew is.
- Have a plan set in place in case anything goes wrong. Accidents require action afterward, and especially in severe weather there might be more problems that can come up. Make sure truck drivers are educated on the correct procedures after an accident, who to contact in case of an emergency on the job site, etc.
The second step to truck safety on the job is to operate the truck properly. Some ways to ensure this are:
- Drive slower and keep a further following distance. The normal following distance and speeds on the road for a truck will be different in severe weather conditions. Wintertime can bring rain, sleet, snow, and ice which all call for taking it slower and taking your time.
- Brake properly on icy roads. While the Jake Brake might be tempting, in severe weather conditions it can cause accidents. If your truck isn’t completely straight on it’s path, over excessive or abrupt braking can cause your trailer or truck to slip and slide with the chances that it might not be able to straighten out.
- Use good judgement and don’t try to do anything above and beyond. Most times, commonsense is the best way to keep safe on the worksite or out on the roads. IF the weather seems to severe, get off the roads and wait to continue until it has let up. If there is ice or something you feel is unsafe at the worksite, ask your employer to remove it or provide other safety precautions. Don’t try to drive any faster, any more crazy, or make any moves that you wouldn’t make as a completely safe driver – it’s not worth the risk.