January is upon us which means unpredictable winter weather. Truck drivers are preparing for freezing temperatures, snow and ice in the air and on the ground as well as corrosive road treatments. Below are a few ways that truck drivers can withstand a season filled with harsh conditions and sometimes unexpected roadblocks:
Check Air Systems and Maintain Tire Pressure
A truck’s air system plays an integral part in braking, automated manual transmissions and emissions controls. As temperatures begin to drop, any moisture trapped in the air system freezes which often leads to brake and valve malfunctions. Tires deflate as temperatures drop for the same reason. It’s important to regularly check and empty the air system and monitor tire pressure to ensure they don’t fall victim to the cold weather.
Keep Fuel Tanks Full
Regardless of vehicle size, it’s common knowledge that fuel tanks should be kept more than halfway full throughout winter. This is especially important for truck drivers because any moisture trapped in partially empty fuel tanks can freeze and ice fuel lines. Keeping fuel tanks over halfway full throughout the winter is critical in avoiding situations where trucks refuse to start. The added pressure of a full fuel tank can give them much needed traction when there is a surplus of snow on the ground.
Plan A Route Ahead of Time
If any amount of snow is going to be on the ground, it’s important for truck drivers to have their routes planned out ahead of time. Logistics professionals can leverage advanced mapping technology to simplify the process. Taking a look at all the different ways to reach the destination makes it easier to avoid any narrow or windy roads that a driver wouldn’t feel comfortable navigating in winter weather. Additionally, drivers that know the route they’re taking ahead of time can identify rest stops in case road conditions become unbearable.
Leverage Supply Chain Visibility
Communicating information regarding a shipment’s current location and estimated arrival time is especially difficult during the winter. Truck drivers often face barriers along their routes like roadblocks, accidents and weather that forces them to pull over and take a break. Logistics professionals can leverage visibility in technology to provide stakeholders with real-time tracking information and updates regarding the location of their drivers.
Keep Snow off the Roof
While snow-covered roads are more commonly recognized as a danger when driving in the winter, piles of snow and ice on the roofs of trucks and truck beds pose an equally significant risk. Any snow or ice left on top of a vehicle could end up falling off and causing an accident for someone else. Some companies have even started working on technology to clean the snow off of truck beds and save drivers the hassle.