Preparing Your Truck and Yourself For Winter Driving

With winter just a few weeks away, this seems an appropriate time to discuss winter weather preparation and driving.

Bad Weather And Wrecks

The majority of weather-related auto accidents in the U.S. occur in late fall and winter. This fact shows the importance of getting your rig and yourself ready for winter driving.

Think Tires

Run tires with lug tread on your driving wheels. The deeper track on lugs makes them better suited to winter driving. Cold lowers tire pressure so check your air pressure regularly. Continually inspect your tires for signs they need replacement. Use tire spray to gauge road conditions. Lots of tire spray, the roads are just wet. A reduction in the mist indicates icing.

Emergency Supply Kit

There is always the risk of becoming stranded in a storm. Carry extra clothing, including shoes and socks in case the clothes you are wearing get wet. Keep a folding shovel, sand, and tire chains handy and pack water and protein bars. Remember a flashlight, cellphone charger, and a blanket.

Pressure Test

With the heater control valves on and the engine cold, pressure test your cooling system and the radiator cap. Check for hoses that are hardened, cracked, or softened. Make sure hose clamps are secure. Replace the warm weather water/antifreeze mix with straight antifreeze.


To keep your brake lines from freezing, routinely inspect the air dryer and air dryer filter. On slick roads allow at least ten times the usual braking distance. Pump rather than slam on the brakes. Sometimes, it's better to maneuver around an obstacle than to use the binders. Remember, that mound of snow could be a car.

Load Test Your Battery

Load test your battery to be sure it has enough life left to get through the winter. On the subject of things electrical, use headlights when visibility is reduced. Don't use cruise control if you are using your wipers. Pay extra close attention to the taillights ahead of you.

Carry Anti-Gel

Gelling from cold temperature turns diesel fuel to wax. To keep your engine running in wintry climes, use a high cetane (55) fuel and anti-gel. Always have extra anti-gel on hand. You might also think about installing a block heater.

Intersections And Ramps

When roads are slippery and visibility is reduced, use extra caution at intersections. Even if you have the green light, double-check that another vehicle isn't sliding through the opposite corner. On hazardous roads, disengage the engine brake when approaching a bridge or ramp. Remember, bridge decks freeze before pavement.

Use The AC

Yes, we are still talking about winter driving. Running the air conditioner helps the defrosters work more efficiently. Clean your lights, mirrors and reflectors. To determine a safe following distance start counting after the lead vehicle passes a marker like a road sign. If you pass the marker before getting to 15, you are following too closely.

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