According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 20% of the crashes that occur each year are weather-related, and the majority of these weather-related crashes happen as a result of wet or slick conditions.
As you can imagine, winter driving skid control is a valuable skill in any context, but it’s an especially important one for truck drivers. If you’re a veteran driver and have already had more than your fair share of truck driving in winter, then these tips will be mostly review. And if you’re a newer truck driver, who maybe hasn’t experienced as many winter trucking conditions, then these trucking safety tips can help equip you with the tools you need to manage the winter roads ahead.
Familiarize Yourself with Winter Trucking Conditions
More than anything, the best skid control tip is also the simplest: know what kind of conditions can cause your truck to start skidding. Wet or icy roads are the biggest culprits, so if you’re driving in either of those conditions, stay alert and be extra careful.
It’s not always easy to tell when the road is slippery, though, so if it’s actively raining or snowing, or has been recently, take things slow. Driving too fast can make your tires start to skid, as can worn tires, which is just another reason why it pays to prioritize the continued maintenance of your truck.
Give Yourself Lots of Time to Slow Down
Whenever you’re driving in winter conditions, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to brake and slow down before intersections, stop signs, and the like. “Slushy or snowy pavement causes a 30% to 40% speed reduction on major roads,” which means you’re going to need to give yourself extra time to come to a complete stop, as slippery roads will require you to ease off of the accelerator and gradually press down on your brake to come to a controlled stop.
Turn Your Wheel Into the Slide
You may remember this winter driving skid control tip from your driving course back in the day, but it’s worth reiterating, as it’s a skill you’re going to want easily accessible if you ever find your truck skidding across the slick pavement.
As soon as you feel the tires start to slide, turn your front wheels in the same direction that you’re slipping. This will help you regain control of the vehicle. Once you feel like you’re in control again, immediately turn your wheels away from the slide and get yourself going in a straight line again.
Familiarizing yourself with trucking safety tips and skid control tips like these is crucial, as you won’t have a lot of time to think about what you should do if your truck starts to skid. You want these skills to be as instinctual as possible, so if you’re ever caught off-guard by winter trucking conditions, you’ll be more than capable of managing them like a pro.