Winter Driving

Driving Conditions Change

During the winter, highway driving conditions change and often these changes occur very quickly. The professional driver must adjust to conditions that can have an adverse effect on driving, such as loss of traction and reduced visibility. Traction may be reduced by water, snow or ice on the roadway, and, even at time, all three conditions happening at once. Loss of traction can occur gradually during rain or snow, or it can happen very quickly as the temperature drops and water on the roadway quickly freezes. Allow more time for trips on ice or snow. Decreased traction and less visibility require that your speed be reduced during adverse conditions. Speed must be adjusted to compensate for lack of traction when accelerating, turning and breaking.

Avoid Jackknifing

Traction is a measure of the resistance between rolling tires and the road. When tires skid they lose traction. Skidding tires also want to "lead" the vehicle and cause a jackknife. Jackknifing can either be caused by the lead, or by the trailer tires skidding from over-braking and wanting to lead the vehicle. Make sure that your tires have good tread. Remember, however, that even new tires can skid when traction is reduced.
High winds can cause control problems with any empty trailer, but "highcube" trailers are particularly susceptible to wind.
When a jackknife gets past 15 degrees, it is almost impossible to correct. You can attempt to correct a jackknife by: 1) steering in the direction you want to go; (2) keeping off the brakes; (3) accelerating slightly if the tractor has traction; and (4) reducing speed to avoid further problems.

Reduced Visibility

Visibility is reduced in the winter by less sunlight and is affected even more during rain, fog, sleet and snow. Visibility not only means being able to see, but also means being seen. Turn on your headlights and marker lights so that not only you can see better but that you can be better seen. Never over drive your line of sight or the headlights of your vehicle. When your windshield wipers are operating your headlights should be on.

One of the greatest roadway courtesies the skilled operator can offer to the driving public is to be constantly aware of the hazards that "tire spray" can cause. While tire spray can't be completely avoided of the potential danger your spray can cause to vehicles passing and following is a real professional gesture.

Slow Down!!!

Reduce your speed so that you can bring your vehicle to a safe and controlled stop. Remember, it can take as much as four times the distance to stop in rain, snow or ice. To stop your vehicle in the same distance it takes on dry pavement means cutting your speed in half on wet pavement and even more on snow and ice.