Editor’s Note: This is a special guest blog from our friend Jake Tully where he fills us in on the 4 essential things all truck drivers need to do to prepare for the Holiday Season.
With the Thanksgiving and holiday season soon upon us, it is expected that many new or inexperienced truck drivers may be on the road to accommodate the influx of products and seasonal fare that has become so ingrained in the social fabrics of our holiday routines.
Not only will our highways see a great deal of less experienced truck drivers, but many parts of the nation will experience weather that may compound the difficulty of driving, or that may be otherwise foreign to new commercial drivers. With autumn upon us and the onslaught of winter looming around the corner, there will be many road and driving conditions to take into consideration to maintain safety and to keep our roadways (and the subsequent commerce they promote) running as smooth as possible
Truck Drivers Need To Get Plenty of Sleep
This may be implicit to the profession of commercial driving, but to operate well and to be able to drive with others on public highways competently, drivers should be receiving plenty of sleep. Many truck drivers may be faced with delivery deadlines that seem nearly impossible or that seem like they may call for a graveyard shift, but drivers must first remember the mandated reset and rest period. Considering that there is a “legal” amount of rest that drivers must take during a given period, those on the road ought to take advantage of their down time and attempt to get a full night’s rest.
Truck drivers are encouraged to establish an evening routine wherein they can comfortably rest and adjust to sleeping on the road, or at the very least strike a pattern in which they can some sleep and “reset” for long enough as to not be a hazard on the road.
Take Precautions Sooner Than Late
Nothing can be quite as dangerous as lack of preparedness, especially heading into months where weather can be treacherous, and resources can be slim due to conditions or the holiday season. To prepare for anything that may come a driver’s way, a routine inspection of their rig and equipment is recommended. Should anything need repair or maintenance, a driver is encouraged to seek out service beforehand, rather than facing a problem down the line. It is better to be prepared for potential problems rather than to rely on roadside help that maybe inundated with many other drivers and their issues. The winter season can be harsh in regards to drivers of all types, and those with commercial vehicles ought to take extra care in their practices.
Study The Routes You May Be Driving
While it may be impossible to physically drive the routes that a truck driver may be traversing in their vehicle ahead of time, a driver always can conduct some prior research and see what kind of roads and weather they may potentially be facing. It may also be worthwhile for a driver to speak to another industry professional to gain some insight into their traveling.
While projected weather forecasts may not be entirely accurate, it may still provide a driver with some idea of how the terrain they are driving will look and may give them adequate notice for any precautions that need to be made. For example, if sleet, snow or ice will be a possible road condition, drivers may be able to modify their trip and their timing to best suit their loads or to accommodate best for safety.
More than anything, it’s important for a driver to communicate with their employer or with their dispatch their level of experience and comfort in driving particular routes. No matter the distance, weather, or other conditions, if a driver feels they are inexperienced or unfit to drive, that aspect should be taken into consideration first and foremost.
Drive Safely, Yet Defensively
With the winter and holiday season comes lots of traffic on the road, including both commercial vehicles and non-commercial automobiles. It’s likely that many of these drivers are attempting to get to their desired destinations just as expediently and efficiently as any other motorist. With that in mind, both traffic and the poor driving habits of others can become a major issue on the roads as well.
It’s important that commercial truck drivers practice safe driving at all times on the road, but safe driving may also often translate to a type of driving that isn’t necessarily “slow.” Rather, defensive driving during this time of year calls for increased awareness – monitoring the driving patterns of others while monitoring your own. Additionally, if traffic calls for a trucker to speed up within reasonable limits, or should another road-related concern occur outside of regular protocol, a driver should adjust per speed and safety. More than anything, a driver may have to make reasonable concessions and adjustments in driving that they may not have carried out before. The best tactic would be to speak to a fleet manager about these potential changes in driving and how to implement them safely and correctly.
About Jake Tully:
Jake is a professional journalist living in Los Angeles who has his hands in many different arenas of writing. In addition to working as a copywriter and holding a position as a member of the marketing team for TruckDrivingJobs.com, Jake also frequently submits articles to entertainment publications and enjoys participating in podcasts on nearly any subject.