Although you cannot control roadway conditions, you can use safe driving behavior by ensuring that you: recognize the hazards of winter weather driving, (e.g., driving on snow/ice covered roads); are properly trained for driving in winter weather conditions; and are licensed (as applicable) for the vehicles you operate. For information about driving safely during winter, visit OSHA’s Safe Winter Driving page.
If you are an employer, be sure to set and enforce driver safety policies for your employees. Also, implement an effective maintenance program for all vehicles and mechanized equipment that your workers are required to operate. Learn more at: Motor Vehicle Safety (OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page).
Before hitting the road, it is a good idea to inspect the following systems on your vehicle(s) to determine proper operating conditions:
- Brakes: Brakes should provide even and balanced braking. Also check that brake fluid is at the proper level.
- Cooling System: Ensure a mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in the cooling system at the proper level.
- Electrical System: Check the ignition system and make sure that the battery is fully charged and that the connections are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition with proper tension.
- Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
- Exhaust System: Check exhaust for leaks and that all clamps and hangers are snug.
- Tires: Check for proper tread depth and no signs of damage or uneven wear. Check for accurate tire inflation.
- Oil: Check oil is at proper level.
- Visibility Systems: Inspect all exterior lights, defrosters (windshield and rear window), and wipers. Install winter windshield wipers.
An emergency kit with the following items is recommended for any vehicle:
- Cellphone or two-way radio
- Windshield ice scraper
- Snow brush
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Tow chain
- Traction aids (bag of sand or cat litter)
- Emergency flares
- Jumper cables
- Road maps
- Blankets, change of clothes
Whether you are responsible for driving a company-owned vehicle or you drive your own vehicle, take these winter driving tips seriously to help keep yourself as well as others safe this season.