It’s a cliché by now that “Winter is Coming.” But experienced CDL holders know more than most how real winter dangers can be when truck driving in winter. With the last leaves falling and the nights getting frosty, let’s take a look at some reminders and 13 tips to keep yourself safe on the road this winter.
For the Truck:
- Keep Salt or Sand for your Tires. Idling on ice or snow will cause slippery spots to form under your tires and the water melts, then re-freezes. Keep something around to set under the tires if you know you’ll be in one spot awhile. This will give you traction when you start up again. Kitty litter also works, apparently.
- Take a Snow Shovel for Back Roads. Sometimes, you need to take a route that won’t be as well-ploughed as main highways. Keep a good snow shovel handy in case you have to plough your own way through tough areas.
- Get Additives for the Fuel Tank. This will help prevent condensation in your tank and fuel lines from freezing. It’s also good practice to keep at least half a tank-full in case you find yourself stuck in one spot for awhile. Got to keep that heater running!
- Pack the Essentials: blankets, tire chains, snow brush/ice scraper, extra food and water, etc. Be more mindful and pack a little more than you think you’ll need. It might make the difference.
- Know state by state chain laws: Different states have different laws about tire chains. Hold on to this Land Line article for a quick guide.
On the Road:
- Check the Weather Frequently. Routes close, storms blow in. You may need to go around, but you won’t know unless you keep checking.
- Keep your Distance. Truckers know that 4 wheel drivers can be at time a nuisance at best and a danger at worst. This is doubly true in winter conditions. Be sure to give even more space than normal for braking on slick or icy road and be soft on the pedals. Better late than wrecked.
- Beware the Glare. Sunlight, especially if you’re driving early or late in the day, can give a nasty glare off snow and ice and hurt your road visibility. We see a lot of tickets given for window tint, so maybe consider an alternative like a good pair of sunglasses.
- Cold season can also mean… cold season. Be proactive to stay healthy. Stock up on Vitamin C and Zinc for your immune system and take a good multivitamin to make sure your body’s getting all its nutrients. You know, like your mama taught you.
- Eat Healthy! Yes, holidays. Yes, comfort food. Yes, truck stop diners. We get it. There are plenty of excuses not to eat healthy. But the consequences of junk will probably be worse than going the extra mile to get and eat healthy food while you’re on the road. Want some ideas on where to start? Check this out.
- Exercise when You Can, How You Can. This is the other thing you can find excuses not to do in the cold. But your body won’t wait around for warm weather. You’re got to stay as active as possible, even if it means doing push-ups on the Love’s lounge floor.
- Use Cleaning Supplies and Practice Good Hygiene. After you’ve done all those pushups, you’ll for sure need to wash your hands. While the bugs are going around, keep up good habits of washing hands and wiping down surfaces in your cab that you touch a lot: the wheel, the inside door handle, the clutch.
- Get Legal Protection. Accidents are going to happen. So are inspections and tickets. We see a big bump in tickets right at the start of winter, so NOW is the time to get protected by CDL Legal. We offer access to CDL attorneys around the country who can help you with everything from a fender bender to a ran stop sign. See what we can do for you.