Winter driving is hard business for service vehicle drivers who have to be on the road even when the weather’s dumping snowstorms, rain, blizzards and other seasonal hazards in their path. Staying safe themselves is the first order of the day, because neither drivers nor their service vehicles, such as boom trucks/cranes, are of any use if they’re not taking proper safety precautions during these trying times.
We at Custom Truck One Source are deeply invested in specialized truck driving safety, and we put this checklist together to remind service vehicle drivers of the basic concerns that one often forgets when winter weather suddenly turns unpleasant on the road during December/January.
# 1: Don’t Dress in Haste
The first safety rule for any service truck driver is staying warm and protected against the inclement weather they have to go work in. And that means being prepared at all times with the right kind of gear when they’re on duty: insulating jackets, waterproof boots with excellent traction, highly-visible clothing for low-light conditions etc.
# 2: Pack Emergency Supplies
A responsible service truck driver should never be caught off-guard without basic emergency supplies like food, water, blankets and a first-aid kit.
# 3: Be Extra Cautious with Specialized Truck Maintenance
A well-maintained service truck is always the need of the hour, but operators have to be extra vigilant during hazardous, winter weather conditions to make sure their equipment is in peak operational condition.
- Check tires for signs of wear and tear, for example, so you’re not compromised by reduced traction on icy roads. Check your spare tire as well.
- Check the engine, coolants, battery and brakes.
- Make sure that all lights on your truck are working and clear of snow and ice. LED lights, especially, accumulate a lot of snow and crud, and to be able to see and be seen is crucial during low-light conditions.
- Grease all grease fittings that are on the tow truck. The ten dollars you spend now can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs afterwards.
# 4: Never Be Too Busy to Wear A Seatbelt
Many pro truck drivers confess that they keep their seatbelts off on wintry roads when they need to climb in and out of their cabs constantly.
# 5: Don’t Take on Snow Plows
Don’t try to pass snow plows, as they kick up huge volumes of snow that may compromise your visibility. Always give them right of way. (This applies to sanding trucks as well.)
# 6: Don’t Get in The Middle of Snow Plows
If there are several snow plows on the road, give them a wide berth. It is very likely that they are working together and getting in the middle with your hefty service truck can cause an accident.
# 7: Don’t Stop Watching for Black Ice
The biggest danger with black ice is that you are at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until your truck passes over it.
# 8: You’re Not Exempt from Defensive Driving Rules
- Don’t engage the jake brake on icy roads.
- Don’t travel as part of a pack.
- Don’t follow taillights of the vehicle ahead, because that would mean you’re following too closely in snow, fog and low-light conditions.
- Keep safe driving distance.
- Be alert. Drive responsibly with common sense and good judgement.