You’re late for a meeting, so you’re going a little over the speed limit—you’ve driven on snow covered and icy roads all your life, besides, your SUV can handle this weather. You just wish those darn trucks would speed up or get out of the way. Don’t they know you’re in a hurry? Probably better call ahead and let the team know you’ll be late, or send a text.
When you put it that way it seems pretty crazy doesn’t it? But the truth is this happens every hour of every day that there’s inclement weather with hazardous road conditions and often does NOT end well.
And in this Corner Weighing in at…
Let’s begin with a bit of common sense. That class 8 semi-trailer you’re tail gating weighs over 30,000 pounds. Your SUV is somewhere between 2,000 and 8,000 pounds. In a fight, the decision will usually go to the tractor trailer. This also means the truck cannot stop, turn, or generally maneuver as quickly as your vehicle. Due to the size alone, the turning radius of a semi-trailer is several times that of your vehicle—play it safe by giving it the space it needs. In snowy conditions maintain a distance of at least double your standard and on ice, triple it. Same thing goes for cutting in front of a semi; give the truck plenty of room.
Do you have blind spots in your vehicle?
I do, and most of you do, as well. Trucks have HUGE blind spots—now add some snow and a little ice and you, in that little white car, become very difficult to see. If your lights don’t come on automatically, turn them on even in the day. Avoid cutting in & out of traffic especially around trucks, and don’t pass on the right. Remember if you can’t see the truck driver he or she can’t see you.
What about Black Ice?
Black ice appears as a thin layer of ice when temperatures approach freezing. Although it may look only wet, it’s as slick as a skating rink. If the vehicle in front of you no longer leaves a trail of spray—it’s ice. Also watch for ice buildup on your car—if it’s on your car it’s on the road.
• Scrape the snow and ice off ALL your glass not just little portholes to peer through.
• Clear the snow off you hood, top, and lights. You don’t want a pile of snow suddenly covering your windshield or crashing on the car behind you.
• Leave early, slow down, and plan your itinerary—all your concentration should be on the road.
• Pack a cold weather emergency kit with, blankets, candles, water, packaged food, and flares. And for pete’s sake wear your seat belt. You know all those studies you saw on the internet about the danger of seat belts? It’s not true. Seat belts save lives.
• If it’s really really cold, icy, and snowy…STAY OFF THE ROAD. You know those highway emergency broadcasts advising drivers off the highways? They mean it.
It’s not complicated, if you treat trucks with the respect they deserve and adjust your own driving to the current conditions you’ll avoid many hazards. Keep calm, use common sense, and remember the limitations of your vehicle and those around you. Drive safe and have a happy holiday.