National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: Driving in Inclement Weather

Icy roads and snow have already hit much of the country and winter hasn’t even officially arrived. Those first few heart stopping moments when the vehicle you are driving breaks traction is a familiar experience for many firefighters. How we react to that sliding sensation often makes the difference between regaining traction or ending up in a brick wall.

“I was the driver of a new response vehicle for our department. It was a winter day and the roads were icy. The car hit an icy spot on the road and slid to the right. We went off the road, heading for a brick wall. I remembered to turn into the slide, which was hard to do. The car stopped sliding and I was able to steer it out of the slide, not hitting the brick wall. It was a near-miss, but with a good outcome.”

The good outcome in this week’s firefighting near-miss report reinforced by the lessons learned are a reminder of the value of a comprehensive driver training program and accumulation of experience. Once you have read the entire account (CLICK HERE), consider the following:

  1. How many different inclement weather conditions are encountered by your department’s drivers? List them and discuss their hazards.
  2. Do you, or your department, require drivers to complete an annual driver/operator evaluation?
  3. What type of training does your department provide for driving in inclement weather?
  4. Who among your crew has been involved in a skidding/sliding event? Have them recount the incident and identify critical points for consideration.
  5. What practice does your department use to evaluate the suitability of vehicles purchased for the driving conditions encountered in your department’s service area?
Have you experienced an inclement weather road experience? Submit your report to today so the next driver that slides on an icy road is ready for the challenge.


Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.

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