End-Of-Winter Road Conditions: What You Need to Know

Through much of North America, road construction and maintenance halts as temps dip below 40 degrees and increased rain and snowfall make for dangerous working conditions.  Wet materials such as concrete and asphalt don’t behave well, and increased moisture near the surface makes excavating a messy challenge.  While this hiatus is good for efficient road work, more than 1/3 of the year, these roads deteriorate at a far greater rate than during warmer months, creating new road hazards.

Take one February or March haul through the snow belt and you’ll see what I mean: road debris and potholes form in the least convenient places.  Whether it’s from road de-icers including liquid, sand, and salt, or simply ice forming and expanding in road joints and air pockets in concrete, cold, winter conditions take their toll on roadways we depend upon for our livelihood. While there’s little we can do about the roads themselves, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize the risk for accidental damage.

Stay Alert

I’m certain this goes without saying, but in areas where you’re seeing more road wear and tear, avoid distractions such as cell phones, navigation system changes, and the like.  That 2 seconds (minimum) your eyes leave the road can mean hundreds of feet covered where you might miss a speed limit change, change in traffic patterns, or avoidable obstacle in the roadway.

Obey Basic Speed Law

As a commercial truck driver, you are well aware of the consequences of speeding, but even traveling within the posted speed limit may be too great for the conditions—even dry.  A road littered with debris and pot holes means more active driver input and less contact patch with the roadway.  Slowing down increases the time necessary to react to adverse conditions, which means not only reduced risk of a traffic accident, but also accidental damage to your tractor or trailer, including treads.

Maintain Visibility

During late winter and early spring, it’s common to experience rain and snow, or “wintery mix” through higher elevations and northern portions of the U.S. and Canada, and this past winter and early spring many northern states have seen winter take several additional swipes.  With this odd mix of rain-to-snow-to-rain precipitation you’ll find you go through washer fluid at a quicker rate—fill your reservoir regularly and keep a bottle or two on board in case you run out.  Keeping your windscreen clear will further increase your ability to react in time.

As a trucker, safety remains a top priority, and as such following these simple precautions above may keep you from costly repairs and downtime or potential accident.  If you’re finding your current equipment is difficult to manage or maintain as seasons turn, let our Off-Lease Equipment group help you find the right equipment for your needs.