December 8, 2021
We all know that the British weather can be unpredictable, especially during winter. Don’t just expect snow and ice, you must be wary of fog, wind, and heavy rain too. More importantly, preparation is always key when it comes to driving in these winter conditions which is why we’ve created this guide for HGV drivers.
Tips for Driving in Hazardous Winter Conditions
Snow & Ice
When looking ahead at the weather forecast, if snow or ice is predicted, it is recommended that a back-up alternative route is planned, just in case. Also, remember black ice is invisible to the eye, so even if you can’t see it, still be aware of it with freezing temperatures.
One major rule for this type of weather is to drive slowly; stopping distances can be up to 10x more than good conditions and reduced speed will help you have more control. Loss of control is caused by braking, accelerating or turning harshly, so avoid this at all costs.
We are more likely to get rain than snow in this country, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every driver is prepared for this weather. It’s always important to anticipate the actions of other drivers during heavy rain and focus your reactions.
Visibility will be limited and stopping distance will be double, so keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Finally, aquaplaning is a strong risk during a rainstorm so, if this occurs, ease off the accelerator to slow down gradually and eventually gain control.
Always try to avoid flooded areas if you can. If you cannot, assess the area in order to safely cross or find an alternative route. Water more than 4 inches deep and that seems to be moving should be avoided.
If still and less than 4 inches, approach the area at 1-2mph and gradually build up to 3-6mph to displace some of the water. The centre of the road will be slightly higher than the edges, so drive on this part of the road and always remember to dry your brakes after.
Visibility is significantly reduced when there is fog, so it is important you always use your front and rear fog lights in order to keep a safe distance from vehicles around you. Similarly to snow and rain conditions, ensure you have enough space in front of you to stop, especially on the dual carriageway and motorways.
Always check your mirrors before you slow down/apply your brakes and if someone is driving to close to you, don’t accelerate to get away; driving at a safe speed is always recommended. When stopping at a junction, listen for traffic and only emerge when you are confident; never hesitate as this will create more risk of accidents. By using your windscreen wipers and demisters, you can keep your line of sight as clear as possible.
Strong gales and gusty winds are very dangerous for high-sided HGVs, so it is always a good idea to plan your journey and look out for road and bridge closures. When driving on bridges or viaducts and when trailers are empty/have a light load, the effect of the wind can be greater, so be aware.
Curtain-sided vehicles should be opened when empty, so there’s less chances to catch the wind. Strong winds pose the risk of overturning vehicles, therefore preparation is key to ensure this is avoided.
Cross Country Carriers HGV Drivers in Winter
At Cross Country Carriers, all our drivers are fully prepared for winter driving. We always make sure to check the forecast and plan accordingly for any hazardous conditions, so your freight makes it safely. We also check our vehicles to make sure they are in the best condition before every journey.
Health and safety are incredibly important to us as well as customer satisfaction which is why we strive to deliver the best quality service that is safe and suitable. Contact us today to discuss your requirements with our reliable, friendly team.