After several mild winters, the UK is forecast to have the coldest and snowiest weather in the past six years. Truck safety during the winter months will be of high importance and good winter struck safety checks will keep your business running.
Winter truck maintenance checks
Truck maintenance is key and the main winter maintenance checks should include:
- Tire tread – Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wear, bulges and cuts. For trucks exceeding 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, the minimum tread depth is 1mm, in a continuous band throughout the centre three quarters of the tread width, as well as over the whole circumference of the tire.
- Wiper blades – Check and replace old wiper blades.
- Washer solvent – Check levels and stock up on windshield washer solvent.
- Light bulbs – Check all light bulbs and replace burned out bulbs.
- Tire pressures – Check these are in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommend limits
- Coolant – Check the coolant and replace if over 24 months old.
- Battery – Check the battery, which is more likely to fail in winter under high starting loads.
Winter truck safety checks
To ensure that you can see and be seen, make sure all windows, lights, reflective markings and license plates are clear of snow and ice. Check that truck’s window wipers and heater/demisters are also working.
Clear all footholds, handrails and steps of ice and snow so that you can get in and out of the cab without slipping. During winter it is also more important to apply the three points of contact rule. In windy conditions, empty curtain-sided trailers are far less likely to get blown over if the curtain is left open.
Winter truck equipment
It also makes good sense to ensure that your truck is fully equipped for winter. Essential items includes a good torch, winter footwear, a small shovel, a hat and two pairs of gloves so that one pair can drying in the cab.
If your truck activities involve an overnight stop then extra equipment, for lower nighttime temperatures, should be considered. It makes good sense to equip your truck with a flask, blankets, high energy snacks and a sleeping bag. Even if you are not planning an overnight stop, it makes sense to have these items at hand, just in case you get stuck.
In short, don’t wait for winter to bite before you start your winter truck safety checks.