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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tire Spray and Snow Shovels: How to Survive Winter Driving

Article thanks to Jim Sweeney and the RoadPro Family of Brands. Links provided:

Truck drivers in Colorado last month (Jan.) got a reminder of just how bad winter driving can be. Winds topping 100 mph flipped semis on their sides on I-70 and some trucks were caught in avalanches in mountain passes.
Those are extreme examples, but most drivers have to deal with some degree of winter driving, even if it’s just a once-a-year ice storm. While avalanches and 100-mph winds will get the best of even the most careful drivers, most winter driving challenges can be met with planning, caution and know-how.
We asked the RoadPro® Family of Brands Pro Driver Council for their tips on how to drive safely in winter. Here’s what they told us:
Know what you’re driving into. There are plenty of sources for real-time weather forecasts and road conditions, so use them, says Sierra Sugar, who rides with partner Allen Wilcher. “Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough, always use your CB,” she says.
Check your mirrors. “Ice on the mirror means a good chance of ice on the road,” says Henry Albert, an owner-operator in North Carolina and member of Freightliner Team Run Smart.
Watch the temperature. This might seem obvious, but temperatures can change in a few minutes of traveling or with a rise or fall in elevation, turning that wet road into an icy runway. “Watch the outside temperature. Most trucks are equipped with temperature gauges on the dash. I watch this very closely since temperatures will change drastically from area to area,” says Joanne Fatta, a company driver in Pennsylvania.
Don’t get nervous. “If you are super-nervous or scared, you can actually be in more danger because of quick, emotional responses to sloppy conditions or sliding,” says Thomas Miller, an owner-operator who drives for Prime.
Watch the taillights. “If the taillights are glistening off the road, it means there’s a lot of ice,” says Maggie Stone, a livestock hauler in Iowa.
Check for spray. “If you don’t see road spray from your tires and the road looks wet, it is because the road is frozen,” Albert says.
Don’t push it. “The single best of advice I can give for winter driving is slow down and never overdrive your comfort level,” says Miller.
Keep your windshield clear.  “When it's real cold and your windshield wipers are icing up in the snow, stop and put your defroster on cold to freeze your windshield,” Albert says. “Once frozen, scrape it off with an ice scraper. Then put heat on your feet only and the snow will simply blow off without your needing your windshield wipers.”
Pack accordingly. Sugar has a list of must-haves for winter driving: snow shovel; rubbing alcohol for clearing windshield washer fluid lines and deicing windshields; bleach to make tires sticky; kitty litter for traction; sleeping blankets and blankets; extra water and three days of non-perishable food; extra medication; anti-gel fuel additive; waterproof matches or lighter; first aid kit and board games or cards to pass the time if you get stuck.
Look out for each other. “Not every accident or winter storm snow involves only one person,” Sugar says. “More than likely, there will be multiple vehicles, casualties and stuck travelers caught unaware and unprepared in the storm or accident. Some with children or medical problems. Be that trucker hero that is prepared to help another person in some small way, even if it’s just a bottle of water, a hot cup of coffee, a sandwich or a granola bar."

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