Driving in winter weather: are you prepared?
Added: 18 January 2019
Safety starts with preparation.
A safe journey begins with good prep. Chris recommends packing all the essential supplies in case you get caught out in inclement weather. “Ensure you’ve got warm and weatherproof clothing, also a spare set of clothes because the last thing a driver wants to do is get themselves wet and cold and be trucking in it”.
He also advises completing necessary checks before journeying out into freezing temperatures, “Ensure that your vehicle is in good condition all of the time”.
Chris’s cab essentials:
· Flask containing hot drinks and plenty of water
· Warm clothing and spare clothes
· Hi Vis jacket
· Mobile phone charger
Chris’s vital truck checks:
· Top up fuel, antifreeze, windscreen washer, oil and water
· Assess tyre pressure and tread
· Fully charge your mobile phone and take charger
· Ensure your cab heater works (critical in sub-zero temperatures)
· Consider snow chains and jump leads
· Let someone know your journey plan so you can be easily located
Truck technology can be your best friend when it’s freezing.
Technology is at your disposal with Mercedes-Benz trucks. The vehicles are equipped with a whole host of features to help make winter driving easier, such as the Differential Lock, which locks up to achieve less wheel slip in difficult conditions and the Dump Axle, which transfers all the weight onto the drive axle, increasing traction on slippery surfaces.
“Using the technology of the vehicles is very, very important” says Chris, who describes how many drivers may not fully understand how it all works and the benefits it provides.
“Last year I spoke to an owner driver and he understood the truck technology and when the ‘Beast from East’ came, he was at a truck stop where there were quite a few Mercedes-Benz trucks struggling to get out. He actually went out to them and showed them how to do it – five trucks took his advice and off they went.”
Do you need a refresh? Mercedes-Benz Truck Training courses, based at the Truck Training Centre of Excellence at Wentworth Park in South Yorkshire, are aimed at helping drivers improve their on-road skills, make the best possible use of their truck’s features, and learn how to operate a Mercedes-Benz vehicle in the most efficient way possible.
As Chris says, “We recognise that the drivers on our courses are already experienced, and so we’re not showing them how to drive a truck, but how to get the best out of their vehicle and become even better drivers.”