modern truck in winter

7 Ways We Drive Safely During the Winter

New York can sometimes have very harsh winters. When there’s snow or ice on the road, it’s a dangerous time for all drivers. Limited visibility and slippery, unstable conditions are serious challenges. In addition, when inexperienced drivers are on the road, they often overcorrect. Also, they may exercise caution at the wrong times. These risks are heightened for large trucks hauling heavy, expensive freight.

At Iron Horse Transport, our staff takes these risks very seriously. During the winter, we exercise extreme caution to keep our drivers (and freight) safe. Read on to learn a few of the ways that our New York trucking company ensures the safety of your freight throughout the winter.

This post has been updated as of December 2019, from its original publication date of January 2018. It has been edited for consistency and for updated information on our services. 


1. Slowing Down

During the winter, unsafe driving inevitably leads to accidents. This can cause serious delays in schedules. Navigating the streets of New York City can be difficult. It’s a particular challenge when traffic is a constant issue. When there are icy conditions, the speed limit is often too high to guarantee absolute safety. Consequently, our drivers go below the speed limit when necessary. Essentially, they’ll drive as fast as sharp judgement dictates.

While there are other safety precautions for safe winter driving, moving slowly is critical. High speeds increase the risk of an accident and the severity. Our drivers minimize this risk by traveling at safe speeds.

trucks driving during winter

2. Keep a Safe Distance From Other Drivers

During the winter, following close behind another driver is incredibly dangerous. This could damage your extremely valuable freight. To prevent accidents like this, our truck drivers are cautious during the winter. We maintain a significant distance between our trucks and other drivers so that (in the event of a skid) all parties are safe. During the busy holiday season, this step is even more important.

Our golden rule is to stay away from the leading vehicle’s tail lights. If the tail lights of the car in front of you are visible, then you’re too close.

3. Adjust Schedule As Needed

Very often, meteorologists are able to accurately predict upcoming snowfall. When this happens, our drivers are able to adjust their schedules to permit extra time, ensuring a prompt delivery.

Sometimes, however, weather predictions are inaccurate. In these situations, our NYC truck drivers understand that freight and personal safety — not prompt delivery — are the priority.

truck driving during winter

4. Never Stop On the Shoulder

The shoulder of the road is an ideal stopping point for drivers with technical difficulties– under normal conditions. While it may also seem like a great place to stop in slippery conditions, this can be a dangerous move.

When snowfall and wind create blurry environments, drivers have difficulty viewing the lanes. Seeing a truck may lead them to believe that the shoulder is another lane. Because of this, they might drive straight into the truck, greatly damaging the freight.

Additionally, parking a truck on the side of the road makes it a likely target for vehicles in oncoming traffic to collide with during a skid.

Our drivers know that stopping on the shoulder of the road is never ideal. During winter emergencies, stopping at roadside truck stops or similar spots is preferable. For drivers hauling fragile and valuable cargo, this practice is key.

5. Always Gas Up

Gassing up frequently is obviously a benefit in avoiding empty gas tanks, and being stuck on the road. However, there are other advantages to frequently adding gasoline to the tank. Filling the truck with gasoline helps to ensure that the truck is weighted significantly enough for tire pressure and safe driving.

6. Strategic Braking

Heavy braking is hazardous during winter weather. Braking can potentially lead to skidding. Even a little skidding doesn’t bode well for freight like construction materials or equipment.

Many drivers try aggressive driving strategies that require drivers to switch from the gas to the brake frequently. Good winter truck drivers must take a different approach. Moving at a slow and steady pace is a much safer way to drive.

More than anything, our drivers know that they should avoid the “jake brake”, or the automatic brake, at all costs. Using this brake on an icy road will cause any trucks that are not well-aligned with their trailers to swerve.

7. Ensure Safe Operation of All Systems

Truck maintenance is key to successfully completing routes. Checking the tire pressure, battery, electrical systems, hoses and belts will give you an indication of anything that might disrupt your journey.

However, during the winter, our New York trucking company adds a few key elements to this routine inspection.

We also make doubly certain that the defroster, windshield wipers, and washer fluids are all operating well. By taking these precautions, we ensure that all of our trucks are equipped to deal with poor weather and harsh conditions.


Iron Horse Transport: A New York Trucking Company

At Iron Horse Transport, we make every effort to serve our customers efficiently. Our drivers take the initiative in keeping freight safe from harm. Contact us to learn more about our delivery services.

red truck driving during winter