Truck Driver Training in Winter?

Semi Trucks Driving on Freeway Snow

Truck Driver Training in Winter? 

Ask any trucker and they’ll tell you that driving in winter conditions can be scary. Driving an 80,000-pound semi tractor trailer in good conditions is risky. Add in snow, icy roads, and frozen brakes or air lines and you could have a recipe for disaster. Because of these dangers, the trucking community is split on whether new drivers should start working in the winter or not. Signal Connect reached out to asked veteran truckers for their opinions. We present both sides of the story here so you truckers can decide for yourselves.  

Some Truckers Say, “Don’t Start In Winter!”

Some veteran truckers recommend truck driving training before the winter season. This gives you the chance to earn vital on-the-road experience before the snow falls. This experience will help you when winter comes. You should have driven plenty of miles and learned how to handle your rig in a variety of situations. When winter arrives, you’ll be able to focus your attention on learning to drive in those conditions. This is solid, common sense advice that makes perfect sense when you hear it.

Other Truck Drivers Say, “Start in Winter”

Some experienced truckers recommend training during the winter months. You’ll have the benefit of a trainer or instructor to help you during these times. Your trainer pass on their own tips for driving through snow and ice. He or she will pass these semi truck driving safety tips on to you. By the time you earn your CDL, you be able to handle whatever Old Man Winter throws at you.

Choose Your CDL School Wisely

If truck driver training is in your future, you have to decide what time of year you want to take it. If you want to get some driving experience before winter, make sure you time it correctly. If you want winter driving as part of your CDL training, sign up in late fall or early winter. Whichever option you choose, everyone here at Signal Connect wishes you the best of luck.

Winter Driving Tips for Truckers

Two problems truckers face in the winter are poor visibility and reduced traction. These two factors have been the cause of many accidents that involve big rigs. There are things truckers can do to help minimize these risks. When we reached out to our friends in the trucking community, we asked them to share some winter driving tips. Here are 10 winter driving tips designed to keep you and your rig safe when you’re driving during the winter:

  1. Vehicle Inspections: Prepping your truck for the winter is a good step toward preventing any problems when you drive. Make sure you check your big rig’s tire pressure, engine oil, and antifreeze levels before each delivery. If you suspect a problem, notify your company’s mechanic and ask him to inspect the vehicle. This is a great way to make sure your big rig is ready for the winter. 
  1. Drive Slowly: Many winter accidents happen because drivers don’t adjust their speed according to the road conditions. When dealing with an icy road, for example, you can’t drive it as fast as you would that same road in July. It’s best to slow down.  This compensates for the poor traction you’ll encounter due to ice and/or snow. It also gives you more time to react in case other drivers are reckless.
  1. The Importance of Extra Space: The stopping distance on a wet road is twice the normal stopping distance. When the road is iced over, it could be 10 times more than that! When you drive your big rig this winter, make sure to leave room between your vehicle and the ones in front of you.  This lets you stop or move out of the way if things go sideways.
  1. Smooth Moves: In cold weather, sudden movements are never a good idea. When it comes to braking, accelerating, or turning, it’s best to do it slowly and smoothly whenever possible. If you have to stop suddenly, try pumping your brakes.  This offers better traction on those slick, iced over roads. 
  1. Use Your Headlights: In daytime snowstorms, other drivers might have a hard time seeing you. Be sure to turn on your headlights when driving. This helps protect you and everyone else on the road.
  1. Defensive Driving: Hard braking on winter roads can be deadly for everyone involved. Whenever possible, try to take evasive action around troubles up ahead. If you’re driving between 25-30 mph, decelerating your big rig and try to maneuver around whatever obstacles are in the road.
  1. Pull Over if You Have To: Sometimes a slight snowfall can turn into a blizzard with whiteout conditions. If it’s too dangerous to drive, don’t. Find a safe way to get off the road and wait until the weather improves before you get back on the road.  Be sure to radio headquarters to let them know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
  1. Bring Blankets: You never know if you’re big rig is going to break down in the winter until it does. It’s best to be prepared for this by bringing warm clothes and extra blankets with you. You also should carry a flashlight, shovel, and other safety items, too.  You never know how long it takes your company’s roadside assistance to get to you on the road.
  1. Get a GPS Device: Winter means auto accidents and these accidents often shut down roads and create detours. If you’re forced to drive off the beaten path, you might be venturing into part unknown to you. A good GPS device will help you navigate to your destination when accidents push you off the beaten path.

Bonus Tip: The Importance of Entertainment 

Some people get into trucking thinking that they’re going to see the country from coast to coast. Well, you will, but it will be from the other side of your windshield. Although it’s a very important career, trucking can also become boring. Having DIRECTV in your semi truck is a great way to keep yourself entertained on stops and stay overs. With satellite dome atop your cab and a receiver and equipment inside, you’ll enjoy your favorite programs away from home.

Did you know that Signal Connect is an AT&T Preferred Partner? This means we’re authorized to offer DIRECTV satellite service. Satellite TV for big rigs and fleets is one of our specialties. Whether you run a trucking company or you’re a single-truck owner/operator, we can help. Since getting DIRECTV for your semi truck is a big decision, you probably have some questions. Our reps are more than happy to help you. Just give them a call at 866-726-4182.