8 Holiday Tips for Truck Drivers

The holiday season brings families and friends together and gives us the opportunity to share memorable moments with one another. The holidays do bring us together, but that means on the road too. We’ve all gone through the chaos that unfolds on the roadways, and it seems that we’re always traveling at the same time as everyone else.

Truckers out on the road are thrown into the firestorm of frantic holiday shoppers and travelers as well. They must be fully aware of their surroundings and maintain a safe driving approach to avoid collisions with fellow drivers. The following tips will discuss the best ways to stay safe while trucking during the holidays.

1. Comply with Driver Hours of Service

A trucker cannot exceed 11 hours of driving within a 24-hour period. This law is in place to minimize potential accidents resulting from sleep deprivation. Drivers should take care of themselves and get regular amounts of sleep, food and exercise in order to stay refreshed and alert behind the wheel. The holidays may be demanding, but it’s smarter to stay safe than to get somewhere in a hurry and risk harm to oneself or others.

2. Minimize Lane Changing

Leap-frogging back and forth between lanes doesn’t promote any safety while on the road; in fact it makes it more dangerous. There are a lot of blind spots on a big rig and drivers should signal early to let everyone on the road know where they’re planning on going. Take it slow and cruise in the right lane. It’s an easier drive and lowers the risk of sideswipe accidents due to blind spots.

3. Maintain a Full Fuel Tank

Keeping the fuel tank topped off in the winter has a twofold benefit. It will add more weight onto your tires, allowing for better traction, and will prevent any water condensation from building up in the fuel lines. Any form of water in the tank will cause the truck to not turn on, stall, buckle or corrode the framework of the engine.

4. Take Caution When Approaching a Bridge

Bridges freeze much faster than roads. Slow down and cross the bridge with patience and be aware of black ice to avoid skidding or sliding into an accident.

5. Be Patient in Winter Conditions

The holiday season can bring some pretty rough weather conditions with it, especially in the winter. No driver should be continuing on the road during any severe conditions. Rushing to get the job done is not worth the risk of rollovers, jackknifes and collisions. A trucker must also maintain space with vehicles around you and avoid tailgating. Giving that extra space in bad conditions in case of an emergency stop is optimal for preventing a problematic situation. Slower speeds are a must during the winter, and taking one’s time is the best advice for trucker safety.

6. Don’t Use the Jake Break in Icy Conditions

The compression release engine break, aka the Jake Break, releases compressed air in the cylinders and will halt the wheels entirely. The rig will skid across the ice if the conditions are slippery enough. Put the truck into a lower gear and use regular friction brakes to maximize safety.

7. Maintain Headlights

Maintaining your truck’s headlights isn’t just for safe driving at night. There are many animals, specifically deer, running around this time of the year. Proper headlights will help you spot those shiny eyes way before it’s too late. Clean your truck’s headlights regularly to avoid the accumulation of snow and dirt from obstructing your view.

8. Keep an Eye out for Work Zones

There is always construction going on at all times of the year, and the holidays are no exception. Slow down the second you see work zone signs to save yourself a heavy fine and ensure the workers’ safety on the ground. A driver can risk losing their commercial drivers license while speeding in a work zone.

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