As we near the end of the month of January, I think that I'm speaking for most when I say that I hope that winter will soon be a distant memory. Conditions became brutal very quickly with Winter Storm Jonas hitting most of the eastern United States hard last week. It makes getting anywhere, nonetheless getting there on time, extremely tough. Have you checked out my Winter Driving Tips Blog? If you're an OTR trucker who drives coast to coast, you know winter can last a lot longer than what many people think. Sometimes it never truly ends until May if you’re running near the mountains. Winter truck driving is a daunting task at times. I once worked for a company that was chain and go, which for those of you who don't know means that unless the highway was closed, they expected you to chain up and go. This is where winter trip planning really pays off, and can maybe even save yours and others’ lives.
The Importance of Winter Trip Planning
I believe trip planning, especially in the winter season, might be your most important part of the job next to actually driving when it comes to being a truck driver. You can many times trip plan around chain laws. Not always of course, but even one time it's worth it. Are you doing the important things you need to do in the winter time to ensure yours and others safety? As professional truck drivers, we’re held to higher standards than 4 wheel drivers. While it might seem unfair, it’s just the way it is. It's the law. But below are a couple of tips and tasks that I add into my trip planning routine during the winter months that help keep me legal and safe:
- Clean Your Front and Back Lights, as well as Your DOT Tape - Keeping all of these things clean is crucial not only for your safety, but to the motoring public as well. Do you use a rag to clean your DOT tape? I wipe mine clean every other day in winter, in between truck and trailer washes. I had an instructor give me that advice once and I've followed it ever since.
- Keep De-Icing Windshield Washer in Your Washer Tank - Do you keep de-icing windshield washer in your washer tank? It not only de-ices your windshield but also your wipers, which can be very important.
Winter Can Catch You Off Guard
Winter can rear its ugly head at any time. Look no further than Winter Storm Jonas that recently hit the southern Midwest and East coast. I saw a lot of reports on how some truckers were waiting the storm out at rest areas or truck stops. But trucks also got stuck on the Pennsylvania turnpike. If those truckers were well prepared it certainly was an inconvenience and of course an "on time" killer, but it didn't have to turn into a life threatening situation. Hopefully my two tips will help you be better prepared for a winter storm while out on the road!
However, I don’t think those can be all the tips for winter trip planning. So I want to ask you:
- What are some of your winter trip planning tips?
I'm looking forward to hearing what other ideas people may have!
About The Author
Wayne got his start in trucking by going through the Driver Solutions company paid CDL training program back in 2012. Since then, he has traveled over 300,000 safe miles and counting! After seeing his photos and reading about his adventures, we knew we had to share them on our blog. Join Wayne on his journey for a first hand look at life on the road!