While Houston does not experience the same dramatic winter events as cities like Boston or Minneapolis, area motorists must still navigate slick roads and cooler temperatures relative to the rest of the year. Whether it is rain, fog or a layer of ice on elevated roads, drivers must exercise caution when getting behind the wheel.
These slick conditions can dramatically impact the safety and control of the huge tractor-trailers right next to you on the highway.
Winter weather often brings reduced visibility due to fog or heavy rain, adding another layer of complexity for 18-wheeler drivers. The larger blind spots inherent in these massive vehicles make it important for these drivers to exercise caution and maintain a safe distance.
One of the most significant concerns for 18-wheeler drivers in bad weather is poor braking efficiency. The weight and momentum of these trucks require a more extended braking distance even in ideal conditions. When roads are slippery due to excessive rain or ice, this distance can increase dramatically, making it important for truckers to anticipate stops well in advance to prevent collisions.
Tire traction woes
Tire traction is a huge factor in maintaining control on slick roads. The large number of wheels on an 18-wheeler, while providing stability, also means more potential points of traction loss. Wet or icy surfaces reduce friction, making it easier for the truck’s tires to slip. Properly maintaining tires becomes an important precaution in these circumstances.
Lack of preparedness
For 18-wheeler drivers, preparedness is key when facing dangerous winter weather. Ensuring that vehicles have proper tire inflation, maintaining a safe following distance and avoiding sudden movements can reduce the risk of accidents on slick, wintry roads. With 80,000 trucking jobs needed for the market in America, according to the American Trucking Association, new hires rushed into a job may be particularly at risk for not following these directions.
As winter tightens its grip, people on the road may feel anxiety around a large truck. By acknowledging this, truck drivers can contribute to safer travels and reduce the risks associated with cold-weather driving.