You would have thought anyone driving across Britain’s roads between December and March would expect snow as a potential hazard for driving conditions. Unfortunately, while professional drivers may usually be completely prepared for driving in snowstorms, it’s the other people on the road that can be totally unprepared. That may cause you problems as you deliver goods and navigate back home with return loads.
Forewarned is forearmed
Even for experienced drivers, going out one way with a full load can be very different to the journey back to your base – especially when your return loads are close to empty or completely bare. There will be plenty of weather forecast warnings informing you about rain, ice, snow, blizzards and freezing conditions that can combine to bring black ice to the roads. However, this is one of the most difficult hazards to prepare for in advance.
Prepare for variations
The difference in weight for your lorry between a full journey out and empty return loads will certainly require different management of your vehicle. The first obvious conclusion when you are driving in snow is to allow much more stopping distance between you and the other vehicles in front, because you may not be able to totally rely on your brakes to stop you as quickly as usual.
All sensible drivers will be careful about the way they plan their journey, so they can drive on safer roads and perhaps use busier roads because they are more likely to have been gritted. It’s the quiet country lanes that won’t have been cleared of snow, and if you get stuck in an area like this there is also the possibility you may be out of your mobile phone signal area to be able to request help.
Maintain your vehicle
Experienced drivers will prepare their vehicle with a pre-winter check so they can deal with any potential problems. The winter weather does place extra demands on your vehicle, and having everything from your wiper blades to your screen wash ready for the worst weather may become the difference between safe and hazardous driving at a later stage, as you deliver your goods and manage return loads.
Your battery will be under a larger strain when it’s snowing and there is also the possibility that your vehicle may be left standing for longer periods across the winter weather, so it is essential that your battery is ready, at full power, at all times.
From ensuring that your fuel tank is topped up to making sure that your visibility through your windows and from your lights is perfect, as well as ensuring that you remove as much snow from your vehicle as possible, maintenance is the key to a smooth journey.