The temperature is dropping and with it comes the messy weather. Rain, snow and ice all bring their own hazards. Here are a few things you can do to help ensure your trailer is ready and running when you are.
Checking your tires regularly means you can notice those small issues before they become big costly issues. Small leaks can become big problems as the temperatures drop. Big problems become costly when they occur on the road. To help avoid costly on the road service calls to replace tires, check them regularly prior to moving for the day and checking again at the end of shift can keep you running in the morning. Noticing small leaks, worn treads and cracks, cuts or bulges early saves money in the end.
Good quality tires with the proper tire pressure helps with traction on slick roads. Keeping your fuel tanks topped up too can add extra weight for better traction in winter driving.
Making sure your door seals are intact each day can save a big surprise, especially if the trailer is used for storage. Bad seals can cause leaks and damage freight resulting in expensive freight claims, angry customers, and lost revenue. Not to mention the damage it can cause to the inside floor and walls of the trailer. Keep an eye on seals and have them looked at before they become problems.
Water and Ice
We all know when temperatures drop water turns to ice. When tires are frozen in the ice and mud they are not rolling on the road, which cost you money. Try checking where you drop trailers to make sure wheels and dolly legs are out of the mud and potential low spots where water and snow can pool. Good idea but of course not always possible. Keeping some salt with you and a shovel to dig out of the tough spots can save a service bill. If you know what trailer you are moving next take a look at it when possible. Pull it out and loosen it up or put down some salt to melt the ice before you need to move it.
Roof Conditions / Snow Loads
Check your roof before moving the trailer. Snow loads can cause driving hazards on the road, not to mention the citation. That mound of snow blowing behind you causes visibility hazards. That huge hunk of ice that blows off can cause major damage to other vehicles, or even kill. There is no easy answer about who is responsible for cleaning the snow/ice off the roof of the trailer. The only thing I can say is the driver is responsible for the condition of the unit(s) he/she is in care and control of and that includes dangerous snow loads. However, if the load’s too high, or is hanging off the side, common sense may indicate you should find a way to clean it before moving it.
Heavy snow and ice loads can also add weight to an already heavy trailer, putting you over your legal limits. And think about what that extra weight is doing to the roof of the trailer. What happens when all that ice and snow melts leaving behind pools of water that will eventually find their way inside your trailer damaging freight? The solution can be as simply as going through a truck wash to clean off some of the load, or as expensive as having a service call to clean the top off. While there may be no simple or cheap solution the potential hazards can be huge.
These are just some simple things (or not so simple as is the case with ice) that can help you with winter driving. Other things to remember are leave extra time to get where you’re going. Leave extra space between you and other vehicles around you. Keep extra supplies and tools in your truck for all kinds of emergencies. Doing a post trip can give you a heads up to potential costly and time consuming problems before you start your next shift. Don’t forget the gloves and winter boots. When weather conditions turn worse, the best thing to do is park; no load is worth a life.
Remember you can call our maintenance department and we will do an inspection of your trailer to ensure you are ready for the snow when it starts to fall.
Good luck this winter and drive safe.