Tis the season to be wary. From weathering snow, sleet, ice and wind to fighting holiday traffic and working longer hours, truck driving during the holiday season is anything but merry and bright. In fact, it can be downright dangerous.
To help ensure the well-being of yourself and others on the road this holiday season, make a list of the following safety tips and check it twice.
With more deliveries and tighter deadlines, you may be eager to speed things up, but the weather has other plans for you. Between rain, sleet, snow and fog, the roads are slicker and your visibility is compromised. And while coronavirus concerns may have more people staying inside this winter, their reliance on online shopping means more delivery vehicles on the road.
Combined, holiday traffic and winter weather can be a deadly mix – quite literally – so be smart, stick to the speed limit and slow down when necessary. If you tend to feel rushed and anxious during the holiday season, make a concerted effort to plan ahead: Check the weather and traffic conditions before you head out, look for alternative routes and give yourself extra time by leaving earlier than you think you need to.
Do some holiday prep
Now is the time to make sure your truck is in top form and ready to handle the obstacles that holiday weather can throw your way.
Make sure your tires are in good condition, maintain a full tank of gas, keep an eye on your windshield wiper fluids and don’t leave home without antifreeze.
Don’t be frosty
Before you get behind the wheel, remove any snow or ice that may have gathered on the windshield, windows or roof, under the hood, around the lights and in other crevices.
Not only can these elements create blind spots for you, they can be a hazard for the drivers behind you and wreak havoc on your engine if left untreated.
Put your phone away
When the weather outside is frightful, distractions can be so delightful – but also dangerous. Keeping your eyes on the road is essential to ensuring your safety and the safety of those around you.
If you’re prone to texting or checking social media on the road, put your phone away and let the temptation go – let it go, let it go, let it go.
Get your Zzz’s
The holiday delivery season often means larger hauls, more shifts – and more pressure to keep up with the demand. Skimping on much-needed rest, however, is not the way to do it.
Driver fatigue is a hazard to yourself and others on the road, accounts for nearly 800 deaths a year, and is largely why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established regulations that limit the number of hours truck drivers can work at one time.
Know the safety rules for the road before you get behind the wheel and make time to get under the covers.
Don’t be a Grinch
Even if you aren’t feeling especially charitable this holiday season, being courteous to others on the road isn’t just polite – it’s a safety issue.
Make room for other drivers, especially when they’re trying to change lanes or merge, and give others sufficient warning when doing the same. These and other defensive driving tactics will help you stay off the naughty list and out of harm’s way.
Be nice...to yourself
Staying safe also means staying healthy, which is a tall order this time of year. In addition to the threat of coronavirus and the seasonal flu, you’re also likely to be dealing with longer hours and holiday-related stress and anxiety.
These elements can take a toll on your physical health, leaving you distracted or lethargic and compromising your ability to focus when you need to most. Do everything you can to reduce your exposure to coronavirus, but get your flu shot as well. Take your vitamins, eat right and, as mentioned above, get plenty of rest – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.