Truck driving during winter: 5 things you need to check before hitting the roads

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2017)

 

As harsh as the weather this time of year might be, business demands that commercial trucks of all sorts still need to hit the roads and make their deliveries. As a result, taking the time out to prepare your vehicles for the change of conditions is absolutely integral to ensure that both your drivers and your assets are ready to cope with the ferocity of winter.

Conditions

The first and most important thing to do before setting off on any long-haul trip, is to take a minute to research the conditions along the route. Although where you are situated might be seemingly free from snow, ice, and rain, your destination and the paths there might not be so forgiving.

Therefore whilst you might not think to outfit your vehicle at first, down the line the time taken to do so may very well seem like a small price to pay.

Headlights

In the thick of heavy snowfall, visibility is a precious commodity that is all too lacking. Having headlights and fog-lights that can pierce the gloom is a must-have in order to negotiate your way forward, and can easily be tested.

Ideally you’ll be able to test them the night before setting off simply by switching them on and observing their power and range, but if time is at a premium then you can check them during the day via their reflection off of local surfaces.

Tyres

A loss of grip due to the presence of ice (and in particular unseeable black ice) is the number one threat to drivers when the cold strikes, so investing in a specialist set of dedicated winter tyres is a strong investment in the safety of both your driver and their cargo.

Optimised to provide traction and control under low temperatures, these designs use unique compounds and sometimes small spokes to enable sound handling when regular tyres would falter.

Windscreens

Keeping your antifreeze topped up is of course a must all year round, but there are a number of other things to keep in mind to maintain your windscreen properly over the coming months.

The first thing to check is to make sure that there aren’t any cracks present as if water gets into them and freezes due to the cold, then that crack can easily expand and require the entire pane of glass to be replaced. Secondly if you do need to clear your windscreen in a hurry then make sure to never pour hot water onto it, as the change in temperature will disperse the ice but can also crack the glass under stress. Take the time to use a proper scraper which whilst more time-consuming, will be far better for the glass and reduce the risks of small problems developing into larger ones.

Battery

The heart of your truck and therefore the most key component, a flat battery means that you won’t be going anywhere. When the temperature drops below freezing, even a fully-charged battery will lose a third of it’s effectiveness, so any older makes could struggle even moreso. Whilst any mechanic should be able to inspect it’s health and advise on repairs if needed, this is an expense that may not be needed if you know what to look for.

Just a visual check can be immensely valuable as any sign of rust, corrosion, or loose connections can be indicative of your battery functioning at less than 100%. During the first few minutes after starting your truck or if you’re stuck in traffic, go easy on heaters and other electrical devices so as to give the battery more time to charge up and divert power where it needs to be most crucially. Indeed, your battery needs frequent trips in order to stay in working condition so don’t lock your truck up over the holiday season-keep it out there with a few tweaks and you’ll be more than prepared for whatever nature might throw at you.

 

 

 

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