Source: National Weather Service
Between snowfall and frigid temperatures, winter weather can be incredibly hazardous for everyone on the road - especially truck drivers. If you or your drivers are navigating icy conditions, it is essential that you protect yourself and your freight against the elements.
Take these steps to stay safe in the cold:
1. Check the Weather
Look at local weather forecasts at your pick-up and delivery locations before you head out so you know what to expect well in advance.
2. Stock Up
Bring extra blankets, clothing, food and water to keep yourself warm in case you get stuck in the cold.
3. Fuel Up
Fill your truck with more fuel than you think you need. In cold temperatures, it can take extra energy to keep your truck warm. If you experience any delays, you’ll be relieved you have more than enough diesel.
4. Know Cold Weather Protocols
Before you pick up a load, ask your Coyote rep if the shipper has protocols for weather-sensitive items. If they do, get them in writing for your reference. Armed with this knowledge in advance, you can make sure you are equipped to safely handle their cargo.
5. Plan Ahead
Have a process in place to protect freight from freezing temperatures. Try keeping extra blankets or materials in your trailer that you can use to wrap your cargo for additional freezing protection.
6. Use a Reefer
Use a temperature-controlled trailer whenever possible. Reefer trailers are most commonly used to keep food or beverages cold during the hot summer months but provide equally important protection from freezing temperatures in the winter months. Not sure if your cargo needs temperature-control? Better safe than sorry.
7. Know Your Freight
Know what you’re hauling and how it needs to be protected from the weather. For example, if you have beer cargo, you should be taking extra steps to protect it in temperatures below 20°F. For water and carbonated beverages, take extra precautions at 32°F or below.
8. Get Moving (Safely)
Pick up trailers as soon as they are loaded. Likewise, receivers should unload the trailers promptly once you drop the trailer off. If you need help with faster pick-ups or unloads, please contact your Coyote rep.
9. Be In Control
Do not use cruise control when driving on slippery, icy roads. You or your drivers should always have full control of the truck at all times.
10. Ask for New Pick Up/Delivery Times
If you think you’re going to be stuck waiting around in the cold, ask your Coyote rep if the pick-up or delivery times can be adjusted. Most shippers will be flexible considering the dangerous road conditions.
11. Drive Cautiously
Freezing temperatures and snowfall typically mean roads are more dangerous, resulting in more accidents. Do not speed when roads are snowy and icy. It’s better to be late for a pick-up or delivery than getting into an accident. Your safety and the safety of your drivers is always the top priority.
If you or your driver does get in an accident, seek the proper assistance as needed and then contact Coyote as soon as possible. The faster your cargo and auto insurer gets involved, the faster tow companies can release your cargo from their lots.
13. Look for Shelter
If you run into an unexpected situation where your cargo may sit idle in freezing temperatures, see if your Coyote rep can try to find you an indoor space where you can park.
14. Avoid the Wind
Isolate your truck from the wind. If you need to park, look for a spot between two other trailers, near a building or in the sunlight, and remember to keep your truck idling. Avoid parking in a spot where the wind can hit your truck from all sides.
15. Keep Moving (Safely)
If the roads are safe enough to do so, drive your truck and trailer around every few hours. Keeping your load in continuous motion will help protect it against freezing.
Above all else, please keep yourself safe and warm during extreme winter weather. For more information about winter safety and forecasts, consult the National Weather Service.
Have questions about your cargo or driving in freezing temperatures? Reach out to your Coyote rep today for help.