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Safe driving in winter weather

On the Job, Safety & Codes | December 1, 2015 | By:

Lives can be saved by following safe winter driving practices.

Employers cannot control roadway conditions, but they can promote safe driving by ensuring that their commercial drivers recognize the hazards of winter weather and are properly trained for driving in those conditions. Here are some tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

Maintain your vehicle fleet. Check battery, tire tread and windshield wipers; keep windows clear; put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir; and check antifreeze.

Keep an emergency kit in each vehicle. Include a flashlight with fresh batteries, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, cat litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food, water and medication.

Stopped or stalled? Stay with the vehicle, don’t over exert, put bright markers on the antenna or windows and shine the dome light. If you run the vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.

Plan your route. Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early), be familiar with the maps/directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.

Practice cold weather driving. Every vehicle handles differently in winter conditions.

  • During daylight, rehearse maneuvers on ice or snow in an empty lot.
  • Steer into a skid.
  • Know what your brakes will do:
    in general, stomp on antilock
    brakes, pump nonantilock brakes.
  • Be aware that stopping distances are longer on slick surfaces.
  • Don’t idle for a long time in an enclosed vehicle.

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