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7 Tips for Safer Winter Driving

Truck driving through wet road

Winter is a beautiful season in New Zealand, with our stunning snow-capped mountains and picturesque landscapes. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges, especially for truck drivers who navigate wet, icy, and snow-covered roads under unpredictable weather conditions.

At TR Group, we understand the importance of keeping truck drivers and other road users safe. In this blog, we’ll provide 7 tips on how to stay safe while driving in winter.

1. Look after yourself first

Winter driving can be fatiguing, even more so when increased concentration is required. Be aware of the signs that you are getting tired and pull over. Rest, stretch your legs, get something to eat, and make sure you’re well-rested before hitting the road again. Taking necessary and frequent breaks can make an enormous difference.

Drivers should also carry warm clothes, a blanket, and extra food and water to stay fed and hydrated. You never know when roads may close due to snow, slips, or treacherous conditions, so it’s best you’re prepared.

2. Do a pre-trip vehicle check

Before hitting the road, make sure your truck is prepared for any changes in the weather and road conditions. Check the truck’s battery, brakes, tyres, and lights – ensure the vehicle is clean and free from snow or mud, especially your windows and mirrors as they are key for visibility. Install snow chains on your tyres when necessary.

3. Plan your route

Winter weather can be unpredictable, so plan your route and check the weather forecast regularly. Avoid routes with steep hills or narrow roads, if possible. If you’re driving on unfamiliar roads, use a GPS to navigate and see areas to avoid and get weather warnings and potential road closures.

4. Slow down

Reduced visibility, icy and snowy roads, and changing weather conditions make it difficult to drive safely in winter. Slow down and maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles. Keep a close eye on other road users and remember to adjust your speed accordingly.

5. See and be seen

Visibility can be difficult and simply making sure that the window washer fluid is full can go a long way. Keeping your windows and mirrors clean also improves visibility, as well as making sure that your wipers are in good condition.

It also goes the other way around – you’re safer when you’re seen. Make sure your headlights are clean and free of snow, ice, or mud and use them efficiently to increase your visibility to other road users – even during the day if necessary.

6. Be mindful of your tyres

With increased water and potential ice and snow on the roads, tyre pressures and tread depth are important to monitor since tyres are the only thing that grips the road. The image below, from the NZTA, shows how much a tyre touches a wet road at different speeds. You can see that a tyre that is down to its minimum legal tread depth has no grip and no ability to disperse water, which could result in hydroplaning.

Remember to check your tyre pressures when they are cold and that your tyres are up to standard.

7. Drive defensively

Winter weather can make driving conditions hazardous. Drive defensively, keep an eye out for other vehicles, and anticipate potential hazards. Our online training provider, DT Driver Training, offers an online course for driving in difficult conditions. This worthwhile course equips drivers to anticipate winter and bad weather conditions and learn best practices for safe driving techniques to minimise risk and wear and tear on the vehicle. Learn more at:

Following these tips can help drivers and other road users stay safe on the roads! Share this blog with your team or drivers to help them prepare for winter and the bad weather conditions it comes with. Be vigilant and stay safe on the roads!

About the author

Shane O'Grady

Shane has been with TR Group since 2014 as our National Sales Manager. He is responsible for leading the lease sales team, focusing on growing our asset base and long term revenue. Moreover, he leads a team passionate for trucks and people, making sure to match great customers with the right vehicles, each and every time.


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