Starting a career as a trucker is a big adjustment; it’s a lifestyle change. Therefore, it’s essential to take advice from experienced truckers to ensure your experience is positive. Even if you’ve been trucking for several months, this may be your first winter in this career. This season will necessitate some adjustments. Here are some tips for driving a truck in the winter for the first time that’ll make your experience easier.
Take It Slow
While everyone should drive more carefully in the winter, this advice is especially pertinent to truckers. The size and weight of your truck mean that braking takes longer, and any accidents will be more severe than those involving smaller vehicles.
Driving at slower speeds is much safer in winter weather. If the temperature is below freezing, be especially careful on bridges, as they freeze quicker due to their higher elevation. Watch for patches of black ice on the roads and brake slowly to avoid losing control of your truck.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Trucking is already a solitary career, with symptoms of depression and loneliness being common among truckers. These symptoms can worsen in individuals who struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression.
SAD typically lasts throughout the winter because of the cold and dark conditions. Symptoms are similar to that of regular depression, including having low energy, feeling listless, and lacking interest in hobbies or activities you previously enjoyed.
If you’re experiencing symptoms like this, don’t just tough it out. Reach out to your support system of family and friends or speak to a professional. Prioritizing your mental health is essential, so don’t let it fall by the wayside.
Prep Your Truck
If this is your first time driving a truck in winter, a tip is to prepare your truck for the worst-case scenario. If conditions are nasty enough, it may not be safe to drive. This means you’ll be stuck wherever you’ve parked your truck for who knows how long.
In addition to your essential trucker tools, you’ll need to bring along winter essentials. These include cold-weather clothing, such as a warm and waterproof coat, gloves, and extra layers. Keeping a few days of ready-to-eat food on hand ensures you’ll be able to have a meal no matter what’s going on outside.
Don’t forget your tire chains and a bag of sand or salt for driving through snow and ice. These are essential to keep traction on the roads and to back out safely, even if the ground has frozen overnight.