It’s no coincidence that vehicle incidents increase with the onset of winter weather. But it’s not just snow that makes the roads so dangerous during this time of year.
Shorter days and longer, colder nights make it tough for vehicles, especially trucks, to travel. It’s extra demanding for big rigs due to their massive size, kinds of load, and tight schedules. That’s why they may seem unforgiving while sharing the highway with other motorists.
If you can’t help but be on the road when snow falls, here are a few things to keep in mind:
What Makes Winter Weather Driving Challenging
There are three major threats during the colder months:
Shorter daylight. People have this vision of enjoying a warm, cozy night by the fireplace during winter weather. But if you need to drive for hours on end, it’s anything but comfy. As days become shorter, there’s less sunlight to lift mood and give a vitamin D boost. If you feel wearier or ‘lonelier’ during this time of the year, you may not be imagining it.
Experts call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it comes from less exposure to sunlight. It can alter mood, and een sleeping patterns. Truckers in general are already stressed by their strict schedules. Couple that with energy spent fighting off the cold and you get exhausted drivers that may cause truck accidents.
Freezing temperatures. Depending on where you live, snow and ice will build up on your vehicle. Before driving, be sure to remove them for better visibility. If you’re driving with big rigs, stay cautious and avoid their blind spots whenever possible. If you can let them pass first, allow them to do so. Trying to race with an 18-wheeler in six feet of snow is a bad idea.
Remember: with colder temperatures mean lower visibility. If there’s a snow storm, other trucks or the wind might blow up more snow onto a truck’s windshield. If the driver doesn’t see you in time, you could end up in a collision, or in a ditch. Even if your area is not experiencing a lot of snow, practice caution as ice and snow can still present challenges when driving.
Physical/emotional changes. With winter weather come a shift in mindset and emotional states. As mentioned earlier, one of things you need to be aware of during this time is SAD. Feeling unusually lethargic or weary is one of its symptoms. For some people, this condition can be debilitating.
To combat the depressing effects of cold weather, keep yourself healthy. Exercise and eat a balanced diet, rich in vitamin D (e.g. milk, cheese, egg yolks, orange juice, and cereals). Truckers who are on tight schedules should still try their best to get the right amount of nutrients to fight off exhaustion. Make it a habit to carry snacks like granola bars, cereals, soy milk, or tuna during your travels.
Stay Safe on the Road Despite the Cold
Unless absolutely necessary, stay indoors to avoid having to battle with snow and ice during winter months.
If you need to drive for long periods, make sure you’re well rested. Plan for breaks and make frequent stops as necessary. Avoid truck accidents by maintaining your speed and distance from them. Practice defensive driving.
Winter weather can be unforgiving – so do your part in keeping yourself safe.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident in Maryland, contact a legal professional immediately. Take advantage of a free consultation for your case. Get in touch with the experts today.