A carpet of fresh snow can be heartwarming when viewed from indoors in front of a roaring fireplace. But for a trucker, that beautiful landscape can mean treacherous roadways.
To prepare for brutal winter weather, here are a few tips from Bill Kampf, Progressive Commercial Auto general manager, to help protect against harm to you or your truck this season:
1. Pull together a winter survival kit for yourself… – Make sure your truck is fully stocked with everything you might need so a stall-out or breakdown doesn’t leave you stranded. Key items to include: a shovel, battery booster cables, ice scraper/snow brush, flashlight with extra batteries, and a space blanket to help prevent heat loss from a person’s body. Additional items might include extra pairs of dry socks and gloves, energy bars or other non-perishable food, bottled water and spare fully-charged cell phone batteries.
2. …AND your truck – Before the cold weather hits, equip your truck with new winter windshield wiper blades as well as winterized washer fluid and fuel. Also make sure that your tires, headlights, cooling system and battery are all in good shape. With all of these precautions, both you and your vehicle will be ready for any snow, hail, black ice or below freezing temperature that you might face out on the open road.
3. Slow down – Give yourself more time to react if something occurs in the road ahead. Compensate for poor traction by driving slower and making all changes slowly and gently.
4. Give yourself extra space in front and behind – To stay out of harm’s way in a sudden emergency, increase the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. Normal following distances should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
Look further ahead in traffic than normal to get a split-second extra to react safely. Awareness of other drivers can go a long way this time of year.
5. Keep an eye on the temperature – Be alert to potentially dangerous road conditions. Touch the front of your outside mirror to see if ice is forming. If it’s forming on your mirrors, it’s forming on the road too. Be especially cautious when crossing bridges and overpasses where ice often forms first.
6. Check your favorite station – Listen to the weather forecast before you leave town. If travel seems hazardous, postpone your run.
7. Be ready for the unexpected – No matter how cautious you are, you still need a safety net on the road. Specialized insurance coverages and services designed specifically for truck owners and operators are offered by commercial insurers like Progressive.
Check with your insurance company to see what they offer. Make sure your policy has tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of you and your business, including:
- Cargo Coverage to protect against damage or loss due to theft, fire, collision and hitting or running over cargo. Progressive’s Cargo Coverage includes no co-insurance penalty, no exclusion of coverage if a vehicle is left unattended, and no reduction in coverage limits for items such as electronic equipment.
- Roadside Assistance that provides 24/7 towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, emergency fuel delivery, locksmith service and on-scene labor.
- Rental Reimbursement to pay for a replacement vehicle following a covered claim.
Bottom line: make sure you and your vehicle are safe and covered, even during the coldest and most treacherous winter months.
Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.