HGV Safety Tips for Driving in Snow and Ice

At Drive Personnel we take the safety of our HGV and van drivers extremely seriously and it is especially important to ensure that you are taking extra special care driving in difficult conditions.  With the current cold blast upon us we wanted to take the time to remind all our HGV drivers of some important points:

  • Please allow more time for your journey
  • Obtain weather information before you start your journey and keep up to date with changing conditions and closed routes via the radio, via weather apps etc
  • In snowy or freezing conditions, carry in the cab: –
    • Shovel
    • Couple of strong sacks (to put under the drive wheels if the vehicle becomes stuck
    • Warm clothes and a blanket
    • Torch
    • Food and a warm drink in a flask
    • Road atlas
    • Mobile phone and charger
    • Sunglasses (there can be a glare from the snow)
  • Ensure that the whole vehicle (especially your windscreen and mirrors) is cleared of ice and snow before attempting to move off.
  • Lower your speed and keep a good distance from other vehicles – allow ten times the normal stopping distances on icy roads
  • Think ahead and allow for the fact that other drivers may get into difficulties
  • All braking must be gentle and over much longer distances, especially when driving articulated vehicles or those with a trailer attached.
  • Avoid any sudden braking, steering or acceleration
  • Falling snow can reduce visibility dramatically, use dipped headlights and reduce your speed
  • Road markings and traffic signs/signals can become obscured by snow. Take extra care at junctions
  • In long periods of snow, the fixing of snow chains or snow socks to driven wheels can prove to be of value.
  • Don’t attempt to overtake a snow plough or vehicle spreading salt, unless you are sure the road is clear and the conditions allow for this to be done safely.
  • When driving at night, be extra alert for a drop-in temperature. If the steering feels light, you may be driving on ice, so ease your speed as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • If your vehicle gets stuck in deep snow, engage the diff-lock (if one is fitted) to regain forward traction – but REMEMBER to switch it off as soon as the vehicle is moving and before attempting to turn. Alternatively use the highest gear you can to improve traction.  Then try alternating between reverse and the forward gear until forward motion is possible.  Avoid continual revving in a low gear, which could lead to the drive wheel digging a deeper rut.
  • When operating independent retarders, take care when going downhill in snow. The retarders could cause the rear wheels to lock. Although some retarders are managed by ABS to help avoid this problem.

Drive Personnel Ltd want all drivers to ensure that they, the vehicle they are driving and other road users are kept safe so please ensure that you prepare properly before you journey and take extra care whilst driving.