Winter weather hinders everyone’s ability to drive. From the most experienced drivers to the novice, no one drives better in the snow than they do on dry pavement. Successful hauls in the winter require a special set of skills, some learned in CDL school and some that can only be learned on the road.

Tire pressure requirements

Winter weather affects tire pressure, and you must monitor 18 of them. Do not rely entirely on the electronics that monitor your vehicles tire pressure as frigid temperatures wreak havoc on technology, too. It is a good idea to carry a manual PSI reader in the winter months. Double check your tire pressure when the electronics find an issue and aim to double check your tire pressure during the intensely cold winter days.

Your gut will tell you when it’s cold enough to warrant a second look. If the thought occurs to you, don’t ignore it. Taking the time in the moment is a lot better than blowing a tire at 70 mph.

Stay wary of the current region you are driving through

Not every region is equipped to handle heavy snowfall. For instance, drivers in South Carolina may lack the preparedness or experience with heavy snowfall that drivers in Minnesota have, and people in the cities might not be ready either. Drivers should always stay alert while on the road, but this is increasingly important in regions not accustomed to heavy snowfall.

Plan ahead

Whether you are monitoring upcoming traffic delays and road conditions or weather patterns, safe planning will always lead to safer driving in any season. Weather and transportation apps can all be downloaded on your smart phone to help ease the process and update you on any delays. When in doubt, you can always call the companies receiving your shipments for their advice on what you should do when dropping off in adverse weather.

Monitor weather & road conditions in upcoming cities

Each city is impacted by winter weather in different ways; and some cities are less prepared than others to combat the weather. When planning ahead, monitor the traffic conditions of the cities you plan to encounter during that days trek. This can be done by checking the cities’ transportation pages, news organizations, or other ways the city communicates with its residents and travelers like Twitter or Facebook.

Take safer routes

Certain routes become more dangerous during the winter months. For instance, that shortcut you always take in the rockies may suddenly be slippery or more susceptible to black ice. It is always best to take the routes that are well documented as safe and clear. 

Make a list, check it twice

Whether you are on your haul or driving the family on the weekend, you should always be prepared for winter emergencies. All vehicles should be stocked with a winter emergency kit to get your through a frigid emergency. Your kit should hold:

• A first aid kit

• Flares

• Warm clothes

• Blankets

• Non-perishable food and water

• Wireless cellphone charger

• A flashlight with batteries

• A bag of sand or salt

• Jumper cables

In addition, keep a step by step emergency plan on hand. Crisis situations trigger the fight or flight reactions and help cloud judgement. A step by step emergency plan can provide a crutch to lean on, as well as clear procedures. It’s essentially you telling yourself what to do.

Monitor driving distance, even if it’s not your choice

It is not uncommon for other drivers on the road to disrespect truck drivers, and this disrespect does not stop during the winter months. You cannot prevent someone from cutting you off, but you can still monitor and improve the following distance. Remain calm, slow down and lengthen your driving distance, as winter collisions can be catastrophic.

Keep the truck’s lights clean

Most truck drivers understand this, but it must be emphasized during the winter months. Severe winter weather can impair a drivers vision on the road. A driver may not see your taillight in time to safely stop, leading to fender benders and even fatal collisions. A simple inspection of your lights can go a long way in preventing winter collisions.