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Whether winter seems a long way off or right around the corner, it’s vital to know the proper steps for regular maintenance and practices to make driving in the snow safe for you and your truck. GCR can help you create your winter checklist, understand safe winter driving tips for truck drivers and choose the right semi snow tires for your truck or fleet.

1. Check and Know the Weather for Your Route/s

Preparation is the key to success for many things in life, and certainly when you are tasked with preparing for winter driving and safely hauling a load for any distance. Check the weather forecast before you hit the road. If the weather provides any obstacles, you can plan your route to hit bridges and overpasses when the snow has melted or when crews have been able to salt the roads. And remember to budget and allow for extra time if you need to drive slower to be safe on snowy or icy roads.

2. Perform any Winter-Related Maintenance

Perform pressure tests on your coolant system and radiator cap on a cold engine to make sure they can maintain proper levels when using the heater control valves. Your coolant system should be able to maintain 15-18 psi, and your radiator cap should meet a minimum pressure of 5 psi. Check all water and heater hoses for wear and tear. Look for any hardening or softening that can cause cracks and tighten any loose hose clamps if you find any.

Stock anti-gel additives in your cab that you may need along a route if you plan to encounter colder temperatures. You can prepare your truck by adding the anti-gel additive to your fuel tanks before fueling up for your trip.

Check out our tips for regular maintenance and ensure that is being followed as well.

3. Keep your Truck (and driver) Stocked for Severe Weather with the Right Equipment

Know the right size and quantity of chaining equipment for your truck and keep bungees for installation in your cab. Having extra windshield wiper fluid, a windshield scraper and a bag of salt or sand on hand will also help when conditions change or worsen.

For driver safety and comfort during wintry weather, wear a reflective safety vest for any roadside stop and have waterproof gloves, a kneeling pad, and boots with good traction if the driver needs to be out in the elements for any repairs. Always have a strong flashlight and extra batteries on hand if a stop needs to happen after dark. Remind drivers to pack extra winter clothes, including gloves, hats, a heavy coat, scarves, and extra warm bedding.

4. Prep Every Vehicle with a Truck Driver Emergency Kit

In addition to the items listed for truck maintenance and driver comfort, it is best to include a first-aid kit, any medications needed, flares, a radio and some food and water. It can also prove helpful to have a battery-powered heated blanket in case the truck will not operate.

5.Make Sure any Truck that Will be On the Road in the Winter has the Proper Semi Snow Tires

When dealing with severe weather, considering the driving conditions for your commercial trucks will help keep your fleet running with minimal downtime and create safer driving conditions for your drivers.

Know the type of traction you will need in wet or dry conditions on the roadways your truck will encounter. Commercial semi tires come in several traction-based variations to meet your unique needs based on your region’s seasonal weather impact and soil compounds.

Inspect your tires often. Check for irregular wear or determine if rotation or new tires are needed before your truck is on the road.

Choosing the right tires and understanding the conditions your tire will be driving in are essential in maintaining a safe operating fleet. Let GCR help you find the right products with our GCR Tire Finder