This week, the first week of October, Chicago Illinois received its first snow fall of the year. For drivers in the Upper Eastern Seabord, Midwest and Western states winter is coming soon.
With a little preparation up front, commercial drivers don’t have to suffer lost drive time due to weather. Planning ahead can save you time and money while on the road in inclement weather. We have listed a few reminders to help make your winter driving safer and more profitable.
Tips for Winter Truck Driving
Safe driving begins before you ever put the truck in gear and release the brakes. Experienced and rookie drivers alike can increase safety during a few minutes before you leave the dock. Clean off your windshields and mirrors, making sure cab heat is set to defrost the window on the inside. A clear view of road conditions can make all the difference. Secondly, before climbing behind the steering wheel, make sure tail lights, head lights and signal lights are all cleared of snow and ice. You may have to repeat this throughout your trip.
- Keep extra blankets and clothing in the cab. Carry enough to keep you warm in case you are stranded and without heat.
- Maintain a supply of “energy food” such as energy bars, nuts, dried fruits and and water. Keep a supply of non-perishable foods and emergency supplies within reach.
- Carry and use a fuel treatment product to prevent diesel from gelling.
- Keep the fuel tank on your truck as full as possible at all times. This will help eliminate condensation in the fuel tanks. Fuel up prior to letting the truck sit.
On the Road
- Allow extra distance between you and the vehicles ahead of you.
- Keep an eye on weather reports to anticipate conditions up the road.
- Slow Down. Adjust your speed appropriately for the road conditions and anticipate changing conditions. Avoid using the cruise control.
Off the Road
- If your truck is going to be parked for an extended period of time, plug in! Keeping the engine block warm with an electric heater will save you time on money on repairs and delayed starts when you are ready to go.
- Plan ahead is the biggest tool for accident prevention. Knowing where truck stops are located makes it easy to stop during a planned trip when needed.
Planning for cold weather driving isn’t expensive. However, planning takes time and spending those few minutes prior to taking to the highway can save you money, time and possibly your life in the worst conditions. Owner operators can be traveling I-75 in Tampa on Monday where the weather is 78 degrees and sunny, then be in Detroit with snow and 20 degree temps on Thursday. You never know where the load is going to take you, but you can take precautionary measures to make sure you deliver safe every time. Sometimes the weather means the freight has to wait to keep you safe.
With a 100% owner operator fleet our drivers face all conditions across the United States. Safety is a priority for every member of our fleet. We offer complimentary safety inspections and assist all owner operators in completing and maintaining their safety records. We can’t predict the weather, but we can assist our driver’s in driving safely in all conditions. If you are ready to drive for one of America’s safest fleets and an Award Winning fleet, contact us here on our webpage today.