Snow has begun to fall in some areas of the country, and a lot of snowfall tends to lead to wet and icy roads that are dangerous to drive on. Driving a regular vehicle in this weather is bad enough, but for truckers, the danger is a lot higher. Trucks are big, heavy, and sometimes a bit unruly, even in the best weather. In winter, every truck driver should take the time to make sure their truck tires are ready for winter.
Switch to Winter Tires
All-season tires are popular for many drivers, and it’s easy to understand why. By having tires that are appropriate for every season, you can save time and money by avoiding the hassle of having to purchase special tires for the winter season and changing them out. However, all drivers in areas that experience winter roads that are slick, wet, and icy should consider investing in winter tires—especially truckers.
According to tests conducted by Canada’s Traffic Injury Research Foundation, an internationally recognized authority on traffic safety, winter tires are significantly better than all-season tires in winter conditions. The tests found that vehicles are able to fully brake 30% faster on winter tires than on all-season tires, which any experienced truck driver knows is a huge deal. Braking in a semi-truck, especially with a trailer attached, is a slow process at the best of times—during the winter, when conditions are even dodgier, better braking equates to significantly better safety for both the trucker and the other drivers on the road.
Chain Your Tires
Tire chains have been in use for more than 100 years to offer better traction in snowy and icy conditions. These are so effective that some areas still have chain laws that need to be followed by truckers who are driving through. Even if you won’t be driving through one of these areas, tire chains can help you stay in control of your vehicle on roads that are covered in snow, slush, and ice.
You will want to do an inspection on your tire chains before you put them on—simply lay them out flat and give them a thorough once-over to make sure there isn’t any damage, loose links, or other issues. Once they’ve been checked, you can attach them to the tire. It’s important to make sure they have the same number of links on the front and back of the tire—uneven links will cause the chains to rotate unevenly when you drive, making them less efficient. Tighten up your chains and cams until you can just get a few fingers between the chains and the tire. To strengthen your tire chains even more, you can add bungee cords across the chains. If you choose to do this, make sure the hooks are facing outward and do not attach the bungee cords directly to the cams.
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