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Winter Driving Tips


On December 21st at precisely 7:42 A.M. EST, the sun’s rays will strike one of the two tropical latitude lines, and thus winter will officially begin for the Northern Hemisphere. This will also be the official beginning of “winter driving” for the millions of truck drivers across our country. This is a time when your driving skills can be put to the ultimate test, especially for the over the road trucker.


For the lucky drivers dedicated to running the southern states, etc., winter will not create too many problems. Those long haulers running all 48 states finding themselves in the northern region, New England states and beyond . . . they know they are in for a ride!

For years I ran all 48 states plus parts of Canada and found myself fighting freezing rain, ice and snow on many occasions. In the Midwest, you will do battle with the snow and ice and the howling winds that can toss your rig around like a rag doll. I have seen too many rigs laid over on their sides or simply stuck in the winter conditions, unable to move. Not only is this a very frustrating time, but it can also be a deadly one when we fail to make the right choices.

Truck drivers must prepare accordingly for the winter driving period. Here are some winter driving tips that not only will make this time of year more comfortable, but could end up saving your life:

• Have your rig “winterized” by a professional technician.

• Carry a few gallons of a fuel treatment product to prevent the diesel from gelling.

• Carry extra blankets . . . enough to keep you warm in case you get stranded.

• Carry a supply of “energy food” such as energy bars, etc., and water.

• Keep the fuel tanks as full as possible, especially before crossing a mountain pass or similar object.

• Allow extra distance between you and the vehicles ahead of you.

• SLOW DOWN. Adjust your speed appropriately for the road conditions.

• Check the weather forecast ahead of you BEFORE you head out.

• Avoid using cruise control.

• PLAN AHEAD. Know where truck stops are ahead of you on your planned trip, so you can make the appropriate stop should the weather turn really bad.

• If the time comes where tire chains are needed . . . STOP!

Having the right equipment and supplies can make the difference between life and death. Should you find yourself stranded on the side of the road in -30 degree temperatures, you will discover that even if the rig keeps running, very little heat, if any, will blow out! It is very important to carry extra blankets and energy food and water. Keep the rig in tip-top shape and by taking extra precautions, you can survive a difficult situation.
There are plenty of tricks and tips to get a car unstuck from the ice and snow, many of which can be applied to trucks too. Know before you go!

The best way to prevent being caught in a life and death situation during winter time, is having the right state of mind in making the GO-NO-GO decision. Even if other drivers are heading out in what to you, seems like a bad idea . . . then stick with your intuition. Make the NO-GO decision to stay put until the weather clears. Make the right decision. The freight can wait.

About the Author:

Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the Truth About Trucking and host of AskTheTrucker “Live” on Blog Talk Radio.
With over 30 years years in the transportation industry, and 21 years as an OTR driver, he utilizes his time by helping new drivers to the industry. By exposing the scams of the trucking industry, he has helped thousands and is considered an expert in motor carrier transportation.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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4 Responses to Winter Driving Tips. - Post a Comment

  1. Joanna

    At school, we’re doing a project to develop an ice and snow removal system for semi-truck trailers. We want to hear the opinions of the people who will be using our product.

    Please answer these questions:
    1. What do you think about these laws that are requiring truckers to remove the ice and snow from the truck roof?

    2. Would you rather drive through a stationary system or activate a system that is attached to the truck?

    3. How much force are you willing to exert? 10 lbs? 20 lbs? 0 lbs?

    4. How long would you like the snow removal to take if it took no effort on your part? less than 30 min? less than 20 min?

    5. Any other comments? Gripes?

    We would love to hear what you have to say about this issue. We want to represent you and your wants!

  2. Allen Smith

    1. Poses a hazard to drivers safety and I see many workers comp claims that could derive from this.
    2. Activate an attached system
    3. How ever much force is humanly capable of exerting.
    4. 15 minutes

  3. Joanna

    Thank you Mr. Smith! Your response is very, very appreciated. Would you mind if we contacted you in the future as we continue our project? We would love to ask for your input as we begin to define our product.

  4. […] Here are four fleet safety tips to keep your drivers safe in the winter: […]

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