Truck Maintenance in Cold WeatherJanuary 21, 2020
Maintaining big-rig trucks is crucial as the winter approaches. According to the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council, roadside failures of trucks increased by about 22 percent from the last quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. This indicates that winter weather can play a big role in the safety of the trucks on the road.
Common Preventative Checks
Some checks that need to be performed on trucks include making sure that the truck has adequate tire pressure, working lights, secure hoses, tight connections, fluid levels, and good wiper blades. This should be done frequently to make sure that the basic systems are safe.
Winter weather truck accidents can be prevented or reduced if tires have adequate tread. One rule of thumb is to use a nickel and place it in the tread of the tire with the wig-side of the coin down. If Thomas Jefferson’s head can be seen in total, it is time to replace the tire. This is a quick and easy way to assess tire wear.
Insta-Chain is a new type of technology where mechanical chains deploy onto the tire automatically at the push of a button. It sounds magical, but drivers and trucking companies must do a lot of planning ahead if they choose to use Insta-Chains because they are about $2,000 per axle and they take about seven hours to install. They can be purchased in six and 12-chain configurations on a tire and are intended to be used when the truck is operating at about 30 miles per hour. One trucker reported that he believed Insta-Chains saved his life when he deployed them to give him more traction.
Driving Simulation Technology
Some companies even implement safe winter-driving training from October to December to prepare for the most severe winter weather, which is usually seen from January to March in most of the United States. They can purchase a simulator to experience what to do when their truck start to skid on the road. Some companies even encourage drivers from the southern part of the country to take part in these simulations in case they encounter ice storms and snow in other parts of the country.
Keeping the Right Supplies on Hand
Additionally, drivers are encouraged to keep winter supplies and tools in their cab, including a hammer and a steel rod to loosen frozen trailer brakes. Drivers should also keep shovels, kitty litter, or salt in their cab to gain traction when necessary. Truck drivers even have special traction devices to slip over their regular shoes when they are out of the cab and in the elements.
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