Bad weather affects all roads. Our interstate system is a marvelous example of modern engineering, but no matter how good the road is, it is dangerous when there is sleet, snow or ice on the roadway. Speed must be reduced on slippery roads to maintain control of the vehicle.
When road conditions are slippery, drivers must look farther ahead so they can anticipate emergencies and avoid the need for sudden maneuvers. Most skids are caused by last-second stops and turns on slippery pavements. If your vehicle does start to skid, turn the front wheels in the direction of the skid and avoid use of the brakes and accelerator.
Extra care must be taken on hills. Brake over the top of blind hills at a speed that will permit you to bring your vehicle to a stop in case the highway isn’t clear ahead. On a downgrade, both loss of traction and gravity are working against you.
Don’t attempt to drive around or through a scene where other vehicles have obviously had trouble with the road conditions. The same conditions that caused their trouble may still be there when you arrive. When there is no room to get through, you must be prepared to stop.
During the winter months, snow- and ice-covered truck lots are prevalent. Good drivers will allow more clearance between their vehicles and fixed objects when maneuvering on bad surfaces. A pile of snow or an ice rut may throw vehicles off just enough to cause them to strike a stationary object if not enough clearance has been allowed.
Foul weather driving is much more strenuous. Drivers need proper rest before every trip, and while enroute, fresh air helps keep drivers alert. An open window is an old safety practice, and it helps drivers hear what is going on around their vehicles.
After all precautions are taken and good practices are followed, there still will be occasions when conditions become too hazardous to proceed. Good drivers will pull off the road at the first safe place, notify their companies of the delay, and wait until conditions improve before continuing.
Being aware of local road closures is also a good defense against harsh weather conditions. This will allow you to plan your route and driving time more effectively so that you’re not making last minute decisions on finding a new route and rushing to make up lost time. It’s also a good idea to alert anyone else that is traveling on the same route you are on of the road closures and dangers that you’ve faced or noticed on your drive. Be a team player.