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"5 Essential Tips for Travel in Cold Climate Areas"

Updated: Apr 6

Lone Semi-truck on a winter night - TNB
Lone Semi-truck on a winter night - TNB

A trip to a cold climate area requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some essential tips to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

Check Your Vehicle's Well-Being:

  • Inspect your entire vehicle before embarking on the trip. Make sure to:

  • Check wiper blades: Ensure they are in good condition to handle snow and sleet. Change out blades that do not adequately clear your windshield when engaged. Worn, cracked, flappy or dry-rotted wiper blades should be replaced.

  • Top off fluid levels: This includes windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, power steering fluid, brake fluid and oil.

  • Check tire air pressure: Properly inflated tires provide better traction.

  • Ensure your Fuel tank/s is/are filled: Running out of fuel in snowy conditions can be risky.

  • Inspect your vehicle's battery: Cold weather can affect battery performance. Check for corrosion, loose connections or worn wires. Replace all components that need it.

  • Verify headlights and taillights: Visibility is crucial during snowstorms. Make sure all lights and markers are working properly on your truck and trailer.

  • Check your vehicles airlines: Before embarking on your journey, make sure to bleed your airlines. This process removes any accumulated water or condensation from the air lines. Water inside the airlines can lead to brake failure or hinder the driver’s ability to release the brakes when the vehicle is stopped for an extended period.

Stay Informed About the Weather:

  • Monitor the weather forecast: If need be, adjust your route and packing strategy based on the changing weather conditions.

  • Be flexible with your schedule: Unexpected delays due to road closures or accidents can happen so leave earlier than usual and plan extra time.

Pack an Emergency Kit:

  • First aid kit: Include bandages, antiseptics, and any necessary medications.

  • Winter weather tools: Carry an ice scraper, snow brush, and a small snow shovel.

  • Extra food and water: In case you get stranded, having supplies is essential.

  • Blankets and warm clothing: Keep warm if you’re stuck in your vehicle.

  • Flashlight and batteries: Useful for nighttime emergencies.

  • Road flares: To signal for help if needed.

Driving Tips:

  • Drive cautiously: Snow and ice require slower speeds and gentle braking. Handy tip: If your truck and trailer begin to slide remember to turn into the direction you are sliding. Stay calm and attempt to keep your vehicle and equipment straight.

  • Keep your fuel tank near full: This prevents ice from forming in the tank and fuel lines.

  • Let someone know your plans: Not just your dispatch should know where you're going. Share your itinerary with a friend or family member.

  • Check road conditions: Stay informed about road closures or hazardous areas.

Pack Winter Essentials:

  • Windshield de-icer: Use de-icer windshield washer fluid and aerosol windshield de-icer to keep your windshield clear.

  • Warm clothing layers: Dress in layers to stay comfortable during stops and while working outside your truck.

  • Winter clothing and gear: Essential for staying warm outside the vehicle.

  • Extra blankets and hand warmers: These can make a big difference if you’re stranded.

  • Snow Chains: Snow chains are crucial for driving on snow-covered and icy roads. When heading to snowy areas, ensure you carry chains with you. Local highway patrols often mandate their use in mountainous regions. Learn how to properly install snow chains or practice with experienced individuals. Additionally, know which tires to install chains on: combinations and number of chains may vary between your drive wheels, steer wheels, and/or rear trailer tandems.

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