Seasonal driving tips

The wrong mapping device could send you over the edge

Before you go on your next trip, make sure you check the weather and road conditions, and oh yes… if you’re going to use a GPS device, choose one designed for commercial driving.

Example: A truck driver (just last month) drove almost to the top of Butterfield Canyon Utah where he came within inches of falling down a one hundred foot drop-off. Despite very narrow and winded roads, the driver kept going because his GPS instructed him to. Ultimately, he got to a place where he couldn’t make the turn. The rescue took six hours and meant two-thirds of his cargo had to be off-loaded so a front-end loader could lift the trailer around the hairpin turns to a place where the he was able to turn around.

Not all navigation systems are the same and the shortcut you trusted to save you time and fuel could end up costing you more than you bargained for. It is extremely important for truckers to understand important route restrictions, road and weather conditions. Commercial mapping devices choose routes based on your vehicle’s length, width, height, axle weight and hazardous materials onboard. They can track fuel purchases, list truck stop and service locations and include real-time weather overlays.

Adjust your driving to fit conditions

• Turn off your cruise control.
• If you lose traction with the road, gradually slow down. Don’t slam on the brakes.
• Use caution when driving on bridges or overpasses. Because of their elevation, the ground does not warm these surfaces and they are the first to freeze and become slippery when the temperature drops. Shaded areas also remain cooler and freeze faster.
• Know your route. Some roads are regularly maintained while others less frequently leaving the potential for dangerous obstacles and surface damage to contend with.
• Don’t drive fatigued. If you’re feeling tired, find a place where you can safely pull off the road and rest.
• Always perform a pre-trip inspection testing the heater and defroster, lights, wipers, battery and tires.
• Be sure to use antifreeze that’s good to -25°F; check and fill washer and other fluids and make sure hoses aren’t loose or brittle.
• Keep an automotive safety kit in your vehicle.


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