49 Winter Driving Tips from Truck Drivers and Industry Experts

Truck driving in winter weather adds another layer of danger to an already difficult job.  Experience can be the best teacher, but today you get the chance to learn the best tricks and tips for navigating winter weather as a truck driver.  We polled truck drivers and industry experts to find out everything they know about staying safe out there in the winter elements. 

What to Wear

winter trucking usa
  1. Invest in some great boots. Wet socks in this kind of weather is the worst.  Look for something water resistant with good tread. Kevin, Driver 6 years
  1. Merino wool hiking socks are the best. They are warm even if they do get wet. Ben, Driver 2 years
  1. I carry my grandfather’s wool US Army blanket from his time in World War 2. It keeps you warm in the cold and the wet.  John, Driver 10 years
  1. I wear wool base layers in the winter. 100% wool is ideal and worth the investment.  PJ, Driver 1 year
  1. I have spikes I slip on my boots for icy conditions. Walk slowly and take short strides.  Long strides don’t work on ice. John, Driver 14 years
  1. I’d suggest a good set of waterproof gloves and a thin waterproof jacket. Make sure you stay warm without sweating.  Sweat can be deadly if you are stuck in the cold for long. John, Driver 7 years
  2. Buy insulated coveralls.I get mine a size too big so I can wear them over my clothes. Paul, Driver 7 years
  1. Avoid cotton and mixed cotton.They hold moisture. Brenda, Driver 3 years
  1. Don’t forget a hat. You lose a lot of heat through your head.  Roger Dale, Retired Driver/Pedigree Trailer Inspector
  1. Dress like an onion; in layers. Anthony, Driver 21 years
  1. In extreme temperatures, cover your ears, nose, and fingers. These are the first places to get frost bite. Robin, Driver 5 years
  1. If you get wet or sweaty, change immediately. Jake, Driver 3 years
  1. You need more than crocs and a t-shirt. Carry extra warm clothes. When I worked in Road Assist, I saw people stranded for 3 days with very little to keep them warm.  Ben Littleton, Prime Inc. Carrier Logistics.

Staying Safe in the Elements

winter road trucking
  1. Take tiny steps like a penguin when you are walking on ice. Your feet are always under your center of gravity this way.  King, Driver 2 years
  1. Make sure you look at the weather before going to sleep. Several years ago I got stuck in a rest area for two days because I didn’t realize a blizzard was coming through.  Alan, Driver 14 years
  1. Keep your diesel tanks as full as possible. You don’t want to get stuck in a white out with half a tank of fuel.  Cam, Driver 5 years
  1. Keep a good supply of food and water on the truck.You never know when you will need to park and wait for the roads to clear. Sam, Driver 17 years
  1. Get a CB.The best way to stay up to date on weather and road changes. Curtis, Driver 22 years
  1. Build a winter safety kit to carry with you. Things like candles and matches that you don’t use in your truck on a daily basis. Jeremiah, Driver 8 years
  2. Carry cat litter. It really can help if you are stuck on ice. Dom, Pedigree Truck and Trailer Sales Truck Expert
  3. You can plug a small space heater into the inverter on your bunk heater. When you get into super cold weather, your bunk heater may struggle to keep up.  Andrew Littleton, Prim Inc. Driver Line Up Supervisor
  4. Carry a good shovel in case you need to dig out. John, Driver 12 years

Winter Weather Truck Driving Tips

truck driver snowy roads
  1. Shut down if you’re uncomfortable. Find a safe place to park.  You’re a danger to everyone around you and yourself if you are uneasy. Robin, Driver 5 years
  1. It is easier to get traction on fresh snow than packed snow. Keep that in mind when you are driving.  Roger Dale, Retired Driver/Pedigree Trailer Inspector
  1. A lot of people jackknife in icy parking lots at low speeds.Be careful when turning.  The trailer will want to keep going the direction it was going on the ice. Frank, Driver 9 years
  1. Drive at a speed that makes you feel safe. It doesn’t matter how fast everyone else is going.  Don’t feel pressured to make unsafe choices.  Dan, Driver 13 years 
  1. Do NOT use cruise control in snow or ice conditions. Dan, Driver 6 years
  1. Slow down. If you don’t see mist coming off the tires from cars around you then the road is frozen. Elijah, Driver 11 years
  1. Learn all the different types of skids a tractor can go into and learn how to correct them. Josh, Driver 3 years
  1. Don’t use your jake brakes on the ice. Do everything slow and gentle.  No tailgating.  Ernie, Driver 3 years
  1. An empty trailer on icy roads is harder to handle than a full load. James, Driver 11 years
  1. Don’t brake fast.Be gentle. Adam, Driver 9 years
  1. Slow down.Then slow down some more. Nancy, Driver 2 years
  1. When you park in snow pull forward after 10 minutes.Your hot tires will melt into the snow and you will get stuck. Bob, Driver 19 years
  1. Increase your distance between you and everyone else.Double it. Al, Driver 6 years
  1. If you are in a place where you need to put on chains, just stop. Chains are there to get you out of a bad situation. Not to get you into one.  -Doug Tamm, Prime Inc Tire Manager

Winter Truck and Trailer Care

truck driver life in snow
  1. Make sure your tires have appropriate tread depth. This is key to staying safe during winter weather. Cole, Driver 4 years
  2. Test your batteries before heading into cold weather. Batteries lose cranking amps when they are cold.  Andrew Littleton, Prim Inc. Driver Line Up Supervisor
  1. Air up your tires. You lose an average of 2 PSI per month per tires.  You don’t want to drive into winter weather like that.  Doug Tamm, Prime Inc Tire Manager
  2. Carry a big hammer.You are going to need it when your brakes freeze up. Tommy, Driver 6 years
  1. Get really good at chaining up before you are out in the weather. Louis, Driver 10 years
  1. Get a fuel filter change before cold weather hits. Max, Driver 4 years
  1. Check your diesel bunk heater before winter hits. Joe G, Central Power
  1. Keep your dash clean so your defrost can actually keep your wipers from freezing up. Lee, Driver 8 years
  1. Carry a bucket of de-icer. Store it on your cat walk if you don’t have space for it.  You will need it and it sells out once bad weather hits.  Dom, Pedigree Truck Expert
  1. Add anti-gel to your tanks before heading into cold weather.Andrew Littleton, Prim Inc. Driver Line Up Supervisor
  1. Drain your air tanks completely at the end of the day.The mouisure inside your tanks and lines can freeze,Trent Pharris, Prime Inc Road Assist
  1. Don’t set your trailer brakes during winter weather.They can freeze. Jamie, Driver 14 years
  1. Stock up on anti-gel.Don’t wait until you are in colder states to pick it up.The shelves will be empty.  Doug Tamm, Road Assist

Share Your Winter Driving Tips, Drivers!

Have your own tips to add to the list?  We would love to hear from you!  Email us!

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