It’s that time of year to consider proper safety measures for driving in serious winter conditions. Driving in winter weather can be risky due to poor visibility, poor traction on snow-covered or icy roads, and the increased unpredictability of other drivers on the road. We want you to be equipped to get your job done in winter weather, but most importantly, arrive home safely to your family. Driving a tanker truck in serious winter conditions demands a knowledge of proper and preventative safety skills.
Here’s a refresher of some safe winter driving tips and tricks that can be invaluable to a tank truck driver:
1. Slow Down
- Most accidents on snowy or icy roads occur from excessive speed. It is important to compensate for poor traction on the roads by reducing your speed!
2. Inspect Your Tank Truck
- Having your tank truck prepared for winter is imperative to prevent any major issues. Check the tire pressure, engine oil, and antifreeze levels before you hit the road!
3. Keep a Safe Driving Distance
- The stopping distance on icy roads is almost 10 TIMES the normal stopping distance. It’s important to leave plenty of room between your tank truck and the vehicle in front of you to ensure you have enough space to stop or move out of the way.
4. Stay Smooth
- When you’re driving on snowy and icy roads, avoid any sudden braking, acceleration, turning, etc. If a situation arrises where you need to come to a stop, pump your breaks lightly. The objective is to keep a consistent speed to avoid reducing traction on the slippery roads.
5. Never Push Beyond the Limits of Your Equipment
- Knowing how your vehicle operates and what your equipment can handle is VERY important. It is one of the best ways to stay safe!
6. Don’t Risk It
- If the weather is so bad that you need to pull off the road, DO IT. Find a place to get off the road safely and wait until conditions are safe!
7. Warm the Windshield
- Not sure what to do on those really cold mornings when your windshield fogs up? Turn your defroster on high for a minute to help warm the glass.
8. Carry Kitty Litter, Sand, or Cardboard
- If your tank truck is stuck in snow, you can sprinkle sand or kitty litter in front of the tires (and behind them if you’re planning on backing out). Another way to get traction is to lay cardboard, or even plywood, in front of the tires (or behind them if you’re starting in reverse).
9. Keep Your Gas Tank Full
- Having a full gas tank gives extra weight over the tires which provides additional traction.
10. Check Tail Lights
- After driving in the ice and snow, check your taillights and license plate to ensure they are cleared and clean. It’s important to make your tank truck as highly visible as possible.
11. Be Prepared
- It’s a good idea to have the following with you on the road:
- Warm clothing
- Extra blankets
- Food and water
- Cell phone and charger
- Tire chains