Ready or Not, Winter is Coming

on Thursday, November 13, 2014 in Life on the Road

It’s that time of year again—well, not really, but with Mother Nature blasting parts of the country with snow and below-freezing temperatures in early November, we thought we’d take this opportunity to offer a refresher course on safe winter driving practices.

Here at the TMC Headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, we’re no strangers to cold, snow and ice. However, winter doesn’t usually rear its ugly head until early to mid-December. Earlier this week, the Midwest received an out-of-season course of snow and ice along with below freezing temperatures brought on by a northwesterly arctic air mass. By the time Friday rolls around, two-thirds of the U.S. will be experiencing unseasonably cold weather.

On our highways, semi-trucks certainly have it hard when the weather takes a turn for the worst, and many motorists are unaware how to properly drive around these trucks. In fact, according to the American Trucking Associations, nearly three quarters (70-75%) of accidents involving trucks are the fault of the other vehicle. TMC Safety Manager, Josh Perry, outlines some great tips on winter driving habits that will keep both truckers and motorists safe.

"Written from the perspective of a trucker, here are some truck safety tips that all motorists should know:

  • Slow down.  Motorists and truckers alike should exercise extreme caution on wet, snowy and slippery roads. Reduce your speed and use your brakes gently. It’s better to arrive late than never.
  • Don’t cut in front. Trucks take much longer to stop than your average vehicle. By cutting in front of trucks or other vehicles, you may create an emergency braking situation for those around you, which can quickly cause a serious accident.
  • Buckle up. Slick roads can be unforgiving. In the event of an accident, wearing your seatbelt is the most important thing you can do to save your life.
  • Steer clear of blind spots. Large trucks have blind spots, or ‘No-Zones’ around the front, back and sides of the truck. Avoid spending too much time in these spots and remember, if you can’t see the driver in the truck’s mirror, the driver can’t see you!
  • Be attentive. Inattentive drivers are some of the most dangerous on the road, especially in winter driving conditions. Put the phone down, yield to truck brake lights and signals and focus on the road. If you need to attend to another matter, safely pull into a parking lot or rest stop."

From the driver of a big rig, to the average motorist, highway safety is everyone’s responsibility. Always share the road and be aware of the limitations of larger vehicles.

From all of your friends at TMC, be safe this winter!