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In winter, back off of trucks

By the time November rolls around in Colorado, Denver residents and visitors alike are wishing for that first magical snowflake of the year. The falling snow is the unofficial start of yet another fantastic ski season, and provides those in the area with an opportunity to soak up the magic of wintertime. However, these same beautiful flakes that cover the mountainsides with fresh powder can wreck havoc on the roadways. The winding roads and the busy highways of Denver instantly become more dangerous, especially for truck drivers and those driving around trucks.

Truck drivers already have to be cautious as they are maneuvering their vehicles along the Denver roads, but winter ushers in a whole new set of risks and dangers. Passenger vehicle drivers and truck drivers alike must use extra caution in order to avoid an accident that could lead to an injury or even a fatality.

Be more aware of greater stopping distances

Even when a truck driver is on a dry, paved road in normal conditions, it takes longer to stop the vehicle than it does for a standard passenger vehicle. In fact, the average stopping distance is 200 feet longer for trucks than it is for passenger vehicles. These stopping distances only increase when roads are wet, snow-covered or icy.

On snow-covered roads that may be slick or icy, it can take truck drivers significantly longer to stop completely on the roadways. This is due to the fact that the driver's reaction time may be slower due to treacherous conditions, and it also can be the result of the conditions of the truck itself.

Tips for truckers driving during Colorado winters

Recognizing the fact that stopping distances increase significantly during the winter months, truck drivers need to exercise additional caution when operating their vehicles. These tips can help truck drivers stay safe while they are on the roads in Denver this winter:

  • Drive slow and leave plenty of space between yourself and the other vehicles. Since it will take your vehicle longer to stop on the winter roads, it's important to drive slower than usual. The speed you are going directly impacts how long it will take you to stop your truck. When you drive at a slower speed, you will be able to react better in the event of an unexpected circumstance and you also will have better control over the truck. 
  • Inspect your truck prior to getting on the road. Take the time before you get behind the wheel to inspect every aspect of your truck. In particular, focus on key components of the vehicle such as the brakes, tire conditions and windshield wipers. Be sure that you have enough fuel in your truck before you begin your next drive.
  • Avoid braking or accelerating suddenly. In winter driving conditions, braking suddenly or accelerating too fast can prevent your tires from maintaining their grip on the road. 

Winter driving tips for car drivers

The responsibility does not lie solely on truck drivers. Passenger vehicle drivers also must use extra caution while driving in the wintertime, especially if they are near a truck during a winter weather event. These tips can help passenger vehicle drivers stay safe this winter:

  • Leave plenty of space between you and the truck. If you are following a truck too closely, the driver may not be able to see that your car is there. In addition, you may not be able to stop in time if the truck needs to brake suddenly. 
  • Drive slowly and avoid passing trucks in dangerous conditions. It can be tempting to try to get around trucks because they are driving slower, but the safest thing to do is follow behind in a calm and reserved manner.

Each year during the winter months, the number of motor vehicle accidents increase, including those involving trucks. Given the fact that trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles, it's not surprising that it is more common for those accidents to result in injuries or fatalities.

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