Winter Truck Driving: A Newbie Truck Driver’s Experience

For someone in their first winter season driving a big rig, I have found snow and lots of it! I recently went to Maine to pick up a load and headed West to Minnesota. I ran into some snow in the mountains of New York and it snowed for almost 24 hours straight!  What I find different in driving the truck in winter weather in the mountains is the weight of course. Heading down a 5 or 6 percent grade with all that weight behind you means you need to make extra sure that you are in the right gear so as to not pick up too much speed. Hitting the brakes too much isn't good on slick pavement.

I find the snow beautiful to look at, but a bit stressful to drive in. I also find it very interesting how fast the 4-wheelers think they can go in inclement weather. I saw numerous cars in the ditch and out of control. I did stop for a while to wait out the worst of it in the mountains of New York and this decision made my drive much, much better than it could have been.

Going through Cleveland this time of the year requires special attention as well. Lake effect snow came out of nowhere and I had near white out conditions for about 5 miles. Can you believe two 4 wheelers stopped on the road, on the right side of the highway, right on the road??!! Not sure what they were thinking, but I was going plenty slow enough to react to their strange behavior. Keeping plenty of distance between other big rigs and 4-wheelers is easier said than done when so many 4-wheelers are impatient. But you really must find a way to separate yourself from the crowd. Bad things happen in groups and I try as hard as I can to separate myself from trouble by leaving plenty of room in front of me. I can't do much about the cars whipping by me too fast, but I sure can keep them a safe distance from me after they pass.

After getting through the snow, I headed to a Pilot in Indiana for a nice, clean, warm shower! I must say, that shower felt particularly good! Pilot does a great job with nice, clean showers.  Taking a nice warm shower is a great way to relax and unwind after a hard day on the road. The Pilot and Love's reward cards are really, really nice to have and I am glad I started using them as soon as I went solo. Free showers are a great way for them to say "thank you" for using their services, including filling up diesel. I am now currently in Minnesota waiting for unload on Wednesday. Current temp is -15 degrees below zero. Yep, that's cold alright! So winter is going strong and I hope everyone stays safe out there. I have a nice 0 to 10 degree sleeping bag, but I am very thankful this New Year that my heater is working!

2013 has started out very nicely with only 1 state left for me to hit all 50 (Note: I've not traveled through all 50 states as a truck driver.  I've traveled through many during my time in the Navy and past jobs.  Read my full bio for more info) . I'm pretty stoked about that. I am also finding myself daily, becoming more confident on the road and not worrying about so many things that come in the first year of driving. I have learned from my mistakes (no big ones!) and filed them away so I don't make the same mistakes twice. Even in the winter time, there is something so special about traveling around the U.S.A. and seeing all it has to show.

Take Care and be safe,


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