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5 Tips for Driving on Icy Roads

Driving in the winter is dangerous for everyone, but if you’re a trucker the stakes are even higher…

Snowy, icy roads, unsafe drivers, and whiteout conditions on mountain passes. These are just a few of the factors that make driving in the winter dangerous for virtually everyone on the road.

But when you’re hauling 30,000 pounds of cargo in the wintertime, the danger is a lot higher! Not only do you have to look out for other drivers, but the road itself is a major hazard. 

Icy conditions mean time spent inspecting your rig, chaining up, or waiting for a storm to pass.

Still, you have an important job to do—cargo still needs to be hauled. 

So, if you’re a newer trucker, or if you just haven’t driven your rig in winter weather conditions for a while, keep reading! We’ll give you 10 tips for staying safe (and making money) while driving on icy roads.

Tip Number 1. Inspect your Rig

It’s vital to do a good inspection of your truck in the wintertime. Checking every detail could potentially save lives. So, double-check your…

  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Battery health
  • Signals, headlights, and taillights 
  • Defrosters
  • Wiper blades
  • Fluid levels

And of course, make sure you have the right equipment. An ice scraper, winter clothing, and tire chains are mandatory. It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared!

Tip number 2. Slow Down

Sounds Simple right?

Well, it is. But it’s important to always keep your speed in mind. Especially because, just like in the summertime, other drivers on the road probably aren’t looking out for you.

Plus, it’ll take you a lot more time to stop than usual on icy roads. In ideal conditions, it already takes the average semi-truck 300 – 500 feet to come to a complete stop. 

In the winter it can take 10 TIMES the typical stopping distance. So, give yourself plenty of extra room.

Your safety is always more important than the hauling schedule.

Tip number 3. Create a Buffer Zone

Like we said…

The minivan driver speeding past you in whiteout conditions isn’t looking out for you, so you need to be looking out for them. 

Keep a buffer zone (as best as you can) between your rig and everyone else on the road. And look for cars hidden in the snow kicked up by your truck.

Tip number 4. Watch out for Changing Conditions

If you’ve ever driven through the Rocky Mountains, you’ll know conditions can change at any minute.

This goes for driving anywhere in winter conditions. So, keep an eye on these areas of the road…

  • Black ice: this thin layer of nearly invisible ice can ruin your day in the blink of an eye. 
  • Bridge conditions: bridges usually ice over before the road, so, slow down!
  • High winds: Especially if you’ve got an empty trailer, high wind could be a problem when exiting a tunnel or cresting a hill. So, slow down or pull over if you think your rig is at risk of tipping.

These are just a few obstacles winter might throw at you. The truth is, you have to be ready for anything at any time.

And lastly, Tip number 5. Make Smooth Maneuvers Only… 

Driving safely in the winter comes down to how you react—in any situation, you need to maneuver your truck slowly and smoothly.

Quick, frantic braking or turning can send your rig jackknifing off the road or worse, plowing through other vehicles.

So, when entering or exiting a highway, braking at stoplights, switching lanes, etc. do it gradually. 

One More Thing… 

Before you get started driving on icy, snowy roads, give us a call! Whether you’re a seasoned trucker or you’re just starting out, driving with JFW could be the best career choice you’ve ever made.

And why’s that?

Well, there are quite a few reasons. To begin with, your safety always comes first at JFW. We’re a family-run company, so when you drive with JFW, you’re part of the family. That’s why we offer…

  • Paid time off: You’ll earn PAID days off that you can schedule and use down the road
  • Paid Holidays: Paid holidays for all employees include New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day!
  • Local Routes: With JFW, you’ll drive local routes. That means you can make your money without leaving your family behind for weeks at a time
  • Health Benefits: JFW offers health insurance, dental, and vision plans along with many other plan options to suit your needs.
  • Retirement Plans: We’ll match your deposits into a 401k retirement account, up to 2%!
  • Quarterly Bonuses: With no safety violations for the 3 month/yearly quarter, you’ll be eligible for a bonus!
  • Modern Equipment: We only want you driving the safest, most up-to-date equipment possible. That’s why JFW only utilizes trucks from 2019 or newer.

Like we said—at JFW, we’re family. And we want the best you can get for you and your family.

JFW offers some of the best pay, benefits, and equipment in the industry. So, what are you waiting for?

Give us a call or visit our website to APPLY NOW! We look forward to hearing from you.

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