Winter Trucking Preparation Truck Driving In The UK

Driving trucks can be difficult at most times of the year but preparing for Winter Trucking early can make the process easier as the weather changes for the worse. In this article, we take a look at some steps you can take to ensure you are fully prepared for truck driving during the Winter.

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Make Winter Trucking Easier With Simple Planning

Arriving at work on a frosty winter’s day can be challenging for any truck driver, exposed parts of the truck or trailer can become frozen and almost impossible to get working correctly until defrosted.

Some simple pre-planning measures can help drivers during cold months in winter.

Cover or remove your connecting cables such as airlines, and electrics from the cab to the trailer the night before, place them in your cab or cover them with a bag to stop the frost from freezing them up.

Remove any Water hoses such as sprayers used on a concrete mixer and place them in the cab or a side box on the truck to stop them from freezing.

Cover keyholes with a small piece of tape to stop moisture from penetrating a lock and freezing the mechanism.

Ensure any moving parts are greased or lubricated correctly, how many of us have arrived at work struggling to access the side box where loading straps are stored because the lock has frozen or the handle won’t budge because it’s frozen?

Every truck has its own key areas to think about but simple measures can save a driver a lot of problems on a frosty day with a little pre-planning and also ensure on a cold morning you are not outside in the cold for longer than you need to be!

Personal Safety Truck Driving During Winter Months

During the winter in the UK, we have dark mornings and dark nights, especially after the clocks go back by one hour at the end of October, which means a great deal of time is spent in darkness, during this time period visibility is greatly reduced so it is important to consider your own personal safety.

Due to low visibility, hi-visibility safety clothing is important to ensure you are visible to others when you are out of your truck cab, also the use of a torch may be required in dark unlit places.

There are many different types of high-visibility clothing, and during the Winter a simple hi-vis vest will help you to be seen by others but won’t provide protection from winter weather conditions.

During the winter a high-vis coat or gilet will not only keep you warm but will ensure you maintain safer visibility to others.

In low light there are many different hazards that you could encounter that would not necessarily be an issue in daylight, it is important to take more care and time when working, become aware of your working environment double-check things to ensure you maintain personal safety, and not take things for granted.

Ensuring you have a good footing if it is icy can save you from slipping and causing an injury, as it is easy to slip and fall as the ground starts to freeze when temperatures plummet, you might be connecting suzies to a trailer, or climbing down from a flatbed trailer, these types of movements are much more dangerous during the winter months and a simple frozen puddle could cause a nasty injury, so slowing down a little, wearing good safety footwear with extra grip on the soles can greatly reduce the risk of injury.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is important all year round but during the winter it could easily save you from injury or worse.

PPE for Personal Safety

From Head to Toe PPE is essential during the winter below are some examples of protection for dark, cold weather conditions

Winter trucking hi vis clothing

Maintaining Body Temperature

During the winter warm protective clothing will help to keep your body temperature warm, but other measures should also be considered, taking regular breaks in a warm place if the weather is extremely cold will ensure your body temperature doesn’t get too low such as a canteen or in your truck cab sheltering from bitter winds or frost.

Having plenty of hot drinks and eating hot food such as soup will keep your body temperature from falling too low.

During the winter especially when the weather is wet it is a good idea to carry spare clothing with you, wet clothing should be removed as soon as you can and replaced with dry clothing whenever possible, this will prevent you from becoming poorly and reduce the risk of your body temperature from dropping too low.

Simple Ideas To Protect You From Cold Weather

Very often a truck driver may be required to stand in one place for periods of time and creating a barrier from the cold can make the job a little more comfortable, when I was unloading a concrete mixer for example it was necessary to stand at the rear of the truck working the lever to unload the concrete for long periods, what I would do is stand on a piece of foam matting the I kept within the truck to create a barrier from the cold ground to my feet.

Other methods such as keeping your feet dry by putting a polythene bag on your feet before putting socks on can also help provide a barrier in wet cold conditions.

Wearing a thinner thermal glove under your rubber gloves can help to keep your hands warm.

Always ensure you maintain full movement of your hands, feet, and body with whatever methods you think of to help protect yourself from the cold because restricted movement could cause issues when working.

Ready to Drive After Becoming Cold?

Before driving your truck after becoming cold loading or unloading, it is a good idea to ensure you warm up again before setting out, if your hands or feet are cold they will not be as responsive as they normally would, put your heater on in the truck and make sure you feel comfortable before setting out.

During the winter carry spare dry clothing with you such as socks so that you can remain comfortable during your working day.

If you have wet clothing or equipment in the cab it may be necessary to lower your window slightly to reduce the risk of your windscreen misting up as they dry out due to the warmer temperature in the cab.

Essential Items For Winter Trucking

During the winter a truck driver can encounter many different scenarios when driving in the UK, the weather can change rapidly especially if you are driving north, it is always better to be prepared for any eventuality that may arise.

If driving a long distance say from Southern Britain up to Scotland for example you could encounter road closures or become stuck sometimes for days in treacherous weather.

 Below is a list of essential items you should consider during the winter months.

  • Plenty of Water.
  • Plenty of Food.
  • A cooker or stove.
  • A truck Kettle.
  • Snow Shovel and a Bag of Salt Grit.
  • Warm Clothing, Gloves, and Waterproof Boots.
  • Sleeping Bag and Blanket.
  • Mobile Phone for Communication & Charger.
  • First Aid Kit.
  • Basic Tool Kit.
  • CB Radio (Handy if you have no phone signal).
  • Detailed Map Books.
  • Truck Sat Nav.
  • Sunglasses (for bright winter sun and glaring snow)
  • Portable Toilet and Loo Rolls.
  • Soap, Toiletries, and Towels.
  • Ensure you have plenty of fuel.
  • Ensure your vehicle has sufficient Anti-freeze. 

It is always better to be prepared and not need something than to get stranded without them!

Camping Cooker

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Truck Kettle

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Snow Shovel

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Sleeping Bag

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Portable Toilet

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CB Radio

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Maintaining a clear truck windscreen during the harsh winter months is crucial for the safety of drivers on the road. While products like the 24V Cigarette Lighter Heater Fan can be incredibly helpful, there are also some common, yet highly effective, methods to keep your windscreen clear. One such method is to make use of your vehicle’s heater. Running your truck’s heating system not only keeps you warm but also helps prevent the build-up of frost and fog on the windscreen. Additionally, keeping a snow brush or ice scraper on hand is essential for quickly clearing any snow or ice accumulation. Another handy trick is to crack open a window slightly to reduce interior condensation. Combining these practical strategies with a dedicated demister like the 24V Heater Fan ensures that you have a comprehensive approach to maintaining clear visibility, even in the most challenging winter conditions. Safe travels!

Conclusion

Preparing for winter weather conditions in advance can help truck drivers to keep safe, make the job easier, and in extreme circumstances survive cold weather if they become stranded.

I hope the information in this article has provided you with some useful ideas for preparing for winter trucking in the UK.