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Winter weather: 3 dangers drivers face on the road

Winter can create many dangers, but those that cause the greatest risks include sleet, snow, rain and ice. All drivers have a responsibility to slow down and drive safely in those conditions since it's much easier to lose control of their vehicles when the weather poses a challenge.

Truck drivers need to be particularly careful; they sit behind the wheels of some of the largest vehicles available. With massive loads on or in their trailers, there is great potential for deadly crashes involving commercial drivers.

Here are a few things drivers must look out for in winter weather.

1. Watch out for wind speed

Truck drivers should monitor wind speed. If they operate tall vehicles, like moving trucks or box trucks, there is a greater surface area for the wind to push against. A particularly fast and strong gust of wind could even push over the vehicle.

2. Beware of black ice

Black ice is different from other surface hazards because it's not visible to the naked eye. Black ice forms when temperatures drop below freezing. It usually forms after a short snow melt or when the temperatures hover between 32 and 34 degrees, since it freezes and thaws depending on the time of the day. Slow down to avoid black ice, which could make it hard to stop or control a vehicle.

3. Avoid precipitation hazards

When there are blizzards, heavy thunderstorms or other extreme conditions, your best bet is to simply stay off the roads. Heavy winds make it hard to drive, while heavy rains or snow can make it nearly impossible to see. Avoid a crash by pulling over or waiting out the bad weather before driving.

These are a few weather hazards drivers face in the winter. Exercising caution can keep you safe. If you are in an accident, call for help and follow established safety rules.

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