When it comes to sharing the nation’s roadways with four-wheelers, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is more than willing to share its advice on how to safely navigate winter highways in harmony with large commercial vehicles.
The goal is for all Americans to reach their holiday destinations safely, and ATA’s Road Team captains have millions of miles of experience in such matters. Below, these elite truck drivers offer driving tips for anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle:
Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be cognizant of their large blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop. Avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
Map your route: Know where you are going and be prepared — ahead of time — to exit the highway when needed. Indecisive driving is a major cause of traffic problems.
Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight as much as possible.
Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to ensure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don’t allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
Slow down: With winter weather conditions present, speeding becomes increasingly hazardous. Allow a space cushion and reduce your speed.
Prepare an emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
Watch for black ice: This is a thin layer of transparent ice that forms when temperatures are close to freezing. Black ice may make the road look slightly wet and is difficult to spot. Watch for ice build-up on your mirror arms, the antenna of your vehicle and the top corners of your windshield, all signs pointing to the formation of black ice on the roadways. Tip: When the spray from tires on vehicles in front of you stops, the highway might have black ice.
Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Just two seconds of distraction time for a motorist double the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early to avoid anxiety associated with arriving late to your destination and to accommodate potential unforeseen delays.
Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
“One of the largest driving concerns during times of cold weather is that of following distances. When the roads are slick, your normal following distance needs to double in length for snow and triple in length for icy conditions,” said Don Logan, America’s Road Team Captain (FedEx Freight) from Eskridge, Kan.