Road safety is paramount in the winter season, especially with a trailer full of heavy equipment. Even the most diligent drivers can get caught up in a storm, or put in a precarious and dangerous situation during a drive. A trailer adds a number of variables that require considerable precaution and control when driving in snowy and icy conditions. We’re sharing our tips on how to practice safe winter towing.
Maintain Regular Inspection
Fundamentally, the health of your truck and trailer will be the one of the biggest determiners of your safety on the road. During the winter months, increase the number of times you perform inspections. Check and consider replacing your wiper blades, top up on oils, antifreeze and and regularly check in on your tire pressure and lights. Ensuring your truck and trailer are ready for the voyage will help you avoid road-side failures or accidents.
Check Lights and Increase Visibility
Before each departure, check your lighting on both your truck and trailer. If there has been a recent storm, make sure to clear off any snow or ice that could cover or obstruct your lighting. During dark days and particularly blizzardy storms, consider adding reflective tape or even installing additional lighting in areas that would best increase your visibility, so you can see clearer and other drivers can see you.
Check Your Tires
All acceleration, braking or turning is done by your tires, and uneven, worn or cracked tires can put you in an immediately dangerous situation. Traction is incredibly important when towing in the winter, so make sure your tires are up to the job. This could mean replacing your tires with winter tires or even using chains when necessary. Regularly checking your tire pressure will give you an opportunity to inspect your tires for any dangerous wear or tear.
Experienced towers know that slowing down is a main tenement of safe towing, and even more so when towing on snowy and icy roads. Even if you are a confident driver, you never know what kind of obstacles you’ll face or what other drivers you’ll confront. Maintaining a slower speed will better keep you in control. Additionally, maintaining a slower speed will help prevent trailer sway. Also, make sure to keep more of a distance between you and other drivers to account for extra braking time.
Keep Winter Supplies On Hand
Unfortunately, accidents, snow-ins and road-side breakdowns can happen to anyone. A little foresight and preparation can help keep you safe in times of emergency. Keeping a spare set of clothes, blankets, first aid supplies, food, water, shovels, tire inflators, jumper cables and traction aids can get you out of several sticky situations. Keep a portable phone charger, flares or even a small generator to help emergency services find you and to help keep you warm and safe. Try to never start a trip without at least a half tank of gas, ideally filling your tank before starting your journey.
Slowly Brake or Turn
Preventing jackknifing takes control and steadiness, even in ideal conditions. When towing on icy or snowy roads, drivers need to take extra steps to ensure safe movement. Start slowing down sooner and at a steady rate when preparing to brake or turn. Try to ensure all the braking happens before the turn, in a straight trajectory. If you have not slowed enough before a turn, your trailer could swing out. If you are experiencing jackknifing or trailer sway, try to avoid a quick and harsh brake.
Pull Over When Needed
Sometimes, no amount of preparation or concentration can keep you safe on the road. If you’re in the middle of a blizzard with little to no visibility, icy roads and lots of turns– know when to pull over for a break. Yes, getting to and from a work site on time, or maintaining your delivery deadlines is important. However, avoiding property damage or even injury is more important. Don’t risk your life or the well being of the drivers around you.
Building The Best
Towmaster Trailers is proud to manufacture resilient, versatile trailers that offer long-term ROI, even through years of rigorous use. If you want to know more about how to make equipment investments that will last for years, reach out to the Towmaster Trailers team today.