icy and snowy winter road

When the weather starts to turn cold and icy, practicing safety trips with a bucket truck is essential. Not only will you have to deal with hazardous conditions on the road, but thick ice can form in your bucket or the truck itself can slide while you’re up in the bucket.

Every year, 24% of weather-related car accidents happen on icy or snowy pavement and 15% occur while it’s snowing. Practicing caution is essential to keeping yourself and those around you safe. Snowy and icy conditions will also result in you being on the road and in your bucket more often due to power lines being down and other weather-related issues. It’s important to learn ways to practice bucket truck safety.

Here are our top five tips to staying safe during the winter while using aerial devices:

1. Drive Slowly

If the road you’re driving on is covered in snow or ice, you will need to slow down. You will have less traction due to the snow. Going slower in your vehicle will also give you additional time to react if something goes wrong on the road.

While having the heavy bucket on top of your truck weighs you down and gives you an extra advantage when there’s snow on the road, there might be ice underneath. Since your truck is a lot heavier than the average car, you will slide further.

Keep an eye out for black ice if you’re in your vehicle during a storm or when the temperature is below freezing. Black ice can be difficult to see, so pay attention to how cold it is outside. If you know the temperature is below freezing and there’s usually water in the area you’re working in, assume that there’ll be ice.

2. Pay Attention to Your Vehicle

Make sure your truck is ready for winter to avoid any major problems when you’re out on the road. Winterization of your vehicle is vital for your truck to run properly throughout the winter.

Inspect your tires for any signs of wear. You don’t want your traction to be reduced on icy roads due to tires that need replacing. Look into a set of chains or studded tires if it snows heavily in your area. Check your brakes, battery, coolants, and engine. Your antifreeze needs to be filled and the proper color of yellow, blue, green, or red. If it looks cloudy, flush it out and add in new coolant.

For every 3,000 to 5,000 miles you drive, get an oil change for your truck. Since oil acts differently in freezing temperatures, ensure you’re getting the proper oil for cold temperatures. Test the headlights and brake lights on your truck to make sure they’re all working. Dust off any snow and remove ice if necessary since LED lights can accumulate a lot of debris.

3. Work in a Stable Place

Get rid of any snow or ice that is in your work area so your bucket truck’s tires are touching the bare ground. You can also use gravel, sand, or mats under your tires and outriggers to add additional traction.

You will want to put your truck as far into the road or street as you can. If your truck starts to slide, it won’t slide down a hill or into a ditch. Working on ground as level as possible is ideal, but sometimes conditions don’t allow for that.

It is important for the tires and outriggers to be on level surfaces even if the truck is on a slope. To level your aerial device, look into cribbing blocks. They will interlock to create a stable foundation for your boom truck.

4. Be Prepared in the Bucket

Safety in the bucket is important no matter the time of year. When winter comes, it throws many more hazards your way. If there is ice in the bottom of your bucket, try to remove as much of it as you can.

You can also put down a rubber mat to provide more traction and help you from slipping. Practice caution when getting in and out. Inspect all parts of your bucket before you go up to make sure everything is working properly.

Pack an emergency kit that you keep in your truck. It should include:

  • Blanket
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra clothing
  • Food
  • Water
  • Flashlight

When you go up in the bucket, dress extra warmly. Have a thermos of a warm beverage in your truck to help bring up your body temperature once you’re done.

5. Be Slow and Steady

Once you’re good to go, it’s important to not have any quick boom movements. Use a gentle touch on the controls and use the lowest speed possible when you can.

All the preparations you’ve done to make sure your truck is on a stable surface, the snow and ice are removed, and moving slowly will all work together to help your truck not slide in winter weather. If the truck starts to slide, stop all boom movements.

If your bucket truck starts to slide, it can be difficult to stop it. Avoiding the issue before it happens is the best course of action.

However, if the roads are too snowy to ensure your safety, postpone any work that needs to be done.

Select Your Bucket Truck Today

If you’re looking for aerial equipment, Custom Truck carries tracked bucket trucks, boom trucks, backyard diggers, and a variety of other options that will fit your needs. For more information, find a location near you today.