Tips for Winter Driving From One Girl Trucking
So Monday was my first day back driving in bad weather. I had to pull an empty wagon on about 150 miles of glare ice. I got my first lesson of the season in defensive driving, patience, and how not to get upset when your drive tires let loose from the road your on and all goes to hell for a minute or two -- 6 or 7 different times.
The Roads looked good to the naked eye
I loaded thinking, "YAY I have weight on," and headed back home. Sadly the 150 miles back weren't any more fun than the first 150. It was so slippery out that I could break traction in every gear -- loaded. When I slowed to about 5 mph to make a turn, Rosie just kept going in the same direction we had been headed. Needless to say, I made it home in one piece, but it was a very slow ride at 40 mph and less at times.
The above view is out my passenger side window.
It was 18 degrees out when I left my house around 4 am, but the weather was quiet. As I headed down the many back roads I travel, I started paying attention to the corner of my windshield and my antennas. They are usually the first thing I look at when I notice the road ahead of me starting to look funny or darker than it should be, even at that time of the morning. Shortly after it started raining, which meant ice.
Within about 30 miles my antennas were starting to pick up quite a bit of ice and I knew I had better get ready for what lies ahead since I knew it would get worse rather than better. For me, the first thing I do is shut my radio off. I want to hear what my truck is doing, and I can not hear it with the tunes going.
I lost traction many, many times and the one thing I NEVER did was touch my breaks! I see so many people on the roadways slamming their breaks on when they hit ice or bad conditions. All you're doing is making things worse. If you feel your vehicle lose traction, you have a few options. Either try to accelerate and drive out of the skid, take your foot off the gas pedal and try to correct yourself out the slide or break very, very gently.
By the time I got back home Rosie was covered with over an inch of ice
Here are a few tips for winter driving.
- Slow Down! Slow Down! Slow Down!!
- Turn your radio off and get off the phone. So you can hear what your vehicle is doing on the roadways (Tires spinning, etc.)
- Take your time. Leave earlier than needed
- Keep a light touch on the controls. Smooth operation is the key to keeping control in slippery situations. Nervousness can lead to a hard clench of the steering wheel, which can result in loss of control.
- Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving.
- Pay attention. Don’t try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
- Leave plenty of room for stopping and don’t bunch up.
- Know the current road conditions.
- Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
- Watch for slippery bridges. Even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition, over and under passes will ice up sooner than the rest of the road.
- Don’t use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have slippery spots, and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle!!!
- Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by other cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you extra time to react safely.
- Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. It takes trucks longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so PLEASE avoid cutting in front of them or stopping in front of them!
- Remember, there is a fine line between being cautious and overly cautious. If you're scared to death, you shouldn’t be out in the weather! For your sake and ours, please stay home!
Also, here is a good website to use as well. Safe Travel USA is a website I use it quite a bit in the winter months. You can click on the state your in and get up to date weather and road conditions.
~I may look like it, but I am not your average girl next door~