HGV Driving Safety Tips For Snow & Ice

hgv snow ice

Here’s some advice for driving in snow and icy conditions.

  • Allow more time for your journey
  • Obtain weather information before you set off and keep up to date with changing conditions and closed routes via the radio or by regularly calling into base
  • In snowy or freezing conditions, carry in the cab: a shovel; a couple of strong sacks (to put under the drive wheels if the vehicle becomes stuck); warm clothes and a blanket; a torch, food and a warm drink in a flask; a road atlas; a mobile phone and charger; and sunglasses (the glare from snow can be dazzling)
  • Ensure the whole of your vehicle (especially your windscreen and mirrors) is cleared of ice and snow before attempting to move off
  • Lower your speed and keep a good distance from other vehicles – allow ten times the normal stopping distances on icy roads
  • Allow for the fact other drivers may get into difficulties
  • All braking must be gentle and over much longer distances, especially when driving articulated vehicles or those with a trailer attached
  • Avoid any sudden braking, steering or acceleration
  • Falling snow can reduce visibility dramatically, use dipped headlights and reduce your speed
  • Road markings and traffic signs can be obscured by snow. Take extra care at junctions
  • In prolonged periods of snow, the fixing of snow chains or snow socks to driven wheels can prove to be of value
  • Don’t attempt to overtake a snow plough or vehicle spreading salt, unless you are sure the road is clear and the conditions allow it to be done safely
  • When driving at night, be alert for a drop in temperature. If the steering feels light, you may be driving on ice, so ease your speed as soon as it is safe to do so
  • If your vehicle becomes stuck in deep snow, engage the diff-lock (if one is fitted) to regain forward traction – but remember to switch it off as soon as the vehicle is moving and before attempting a turn. Alternatively, use the highest gear you can to improve traction. Then try alternating between reverse and the forward gear until forward motion is possible. Avoid continual revving in a low gear, which could lead to the drive wheel digging a deeper rut