Winter brings with it cold temperatures, snow, sleet, and frequent truck accidents. Many truck drivers are trying to find trucking companies that will hire them in winter. We all know preparation is key when it comes to mitigating risk during winter driving. Here are some trucking safety tips for truck drivers & trucking company owners on preparing their trucks for the winter.
Check the wiper blades
Wiper blades are an essential component of a truck’s windshield.
In winter, it is not just the windshield that needs to be precise but also the rear window and side mirrors. In winter, you need to stop often and clean ice off your windows. Check if your wipers don’t have cracks or torn rubber fittings, as these can cause streaking and affect vision during heavy snowfall and rainstorms. If they’re worn out, replace them immediately with new ones as per your truck manufacturer specifications which usually is every 12 months or 12000 miles (whichever comes first). It is best to check it before winter hits as if there’s no time for replacement; having some pairs on hand would help.
Get winter tires and keep them on all year round
Winter tires should be mounted on all 4 wheels for greater stability during turns, etc. Use only the same type of tire on all 4 wheels. You can use them in other seasons, but make sure you check your local weather report before heading out each time, as conditions vary within a season.
Keep your windshield washer tank full with anti-freeze solution
The freezing point of water is zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit/ 0 Fahrenheit). When combined with particles like dust, salt, or sand, it can quickly corrode metal parts of your windshield washer system, which includes hoses that transport fluid into the nozzles at the base of the windshield where it sprays on the glass. The washer fluid freezes at zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) and gets stuck in nozzles, causing them to clog with ice. To prevent this, you need to keep your windshield washer tank full with anti-freeze solution so that when water freezes, it does not form icy chunks, which can damage the system. Anti-freeze is available in both liquid & powder forms depending on your truck type/ manufacturer specification. Liquid ones are preferred as they don’t freeze up even at very low temperatures.
Check all lights before hitting the road during winter
Truck drivers should always check their truck’s lights, especially if they’re working long hours without rest or sleep while driving through winter nights. Ensure all lights are in good working condition before heading out, including fog lights, brake lights, turn signals, etc.
Keep your oil at the right level
Keeping your truck’s engine oil at the correct level is vital during winter. You need to make sure it has sufficient oil & oil filters with appropriate levels of anti-freeze solution (for diesel only). If you’ll be storing your truck for long periods, checking oil quality and quantity each week is advisable. It will keep the engine running smoothly once started up again when spring/ summer returns next year or when you decide to sell your truck. It also helps in preventing fuel line freezing which can result in clogged nozzles.
Cover your engine if you’re not going to use your truck during winter
If you know for certain that you won’t be driving your truck during the winter months, make sure to cover its engine with a blanket or tarpaulin sheet until the following spring/ summer season returns. It keeps dust & other particles from settling on internal components, which could clog filters and nozzles. This is important for diesel engines since they operate using fuel injected into cylinders under very high temperatures and extreme pressure. Hence, they are highly sensitive to any dust or particle that may cause a clog.
Check your oil & anti-freeze solution every week during the winter months
You need to check your truck’s engine oil and anti-freeze solution levels at least once a week during the winter months so that you’ll know when they need refilling/ changing. This way, you can get them done before weather conditions get worse. Changing oil & anti-freeze solution not only keeps your engine running smoothly but also prevents rusting, which happens anytime moisture from rain, snow, or ice is allowed to stay on metal parts of your truck for long periods.
To prepare your truck for the winter, you should have a good set of tires and tune-ups done. You’ll also need to wash it off as well as possible before storing it away for the next few months.