Preparing for the Winter – Maintenance and Safety Tips

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Maintenance and Safety Tips


While a professional and responsible truck driver should always be on high alert on the road, it’s crucial to be vigilant during cold winter months. The roads are often slippery, vehicles are prone to having mechanical issues more frequently during winter, and quite frankly – many inexperienced drivers underestimate the gravity of dangers that arise in cold weather.

Unfortunately, terrible accidents happen, like the one in February this year involving more than 130 vehicles along Interstate-35W in Fort Worth. This and many more similar accidents are easily preventable as long as all traffic participants exercise caution in icy conditions.



Here are some easy-to-follow maintenance and safety tips to help maximize your safety –


  • Watch Your Speed

This seems like pretty obvious and maybe even redundant advice, but rest assured that many drivers simply can’t shake off the habit of driving fast. Whether it’s because they’re chasing a particular quota or are simply in a hurry, many professional truckers tend to underestimate the stopping distance of their vehicles, especially during winter.

Bridges and overpasses are usually the first spots that freeze, so be extra careful while driving over. On the other hand, you should drive slower regardless of the road conditions.

  • Removal of Ice and Snow from the Vehicle

Snow and ice buildup on top of a rig is a normal occurrence during harsh winter days. It’s not a super-problematic thing as long as you remove the chunks of ice and snow from your trailer, cabin roof, and other parts of your truck/trailer. In case you forget to do it, you’re seriously jeopardizing other drivers on the road since it doesn’t take much for a massive block of ice to go airborne on a highway at high speeds and crush the vehicle behind you.

  • HVAC Systems and Lighting

Before going on the road, drivers should always check whether their HVAC system’s defrost and heat is functioning correctly. When temperatures drop drastically, heating is critical and sometimes even the essential factor for survival.

As far as lighting goes, many newer trucks use LED lights which typically don’t emit enough heat to melt the ice and snow off your headlights. On top of that – always check your tires!

  • Battery Maintenance

During freezing weather, your battery is arguably one of the most critical parts of your truck. Starting a diesel engine in extremely cold weather is a challenge in and of itself, so it’s of utmost importance for you to use some sort of a block heater or coolant heater to make this process a bit easier.

In essence, keeping your battery in relatively good condition is the thing that can make or break your journey.

  • A Pack of Essential Supplies is Mandatory

While the possibility of getting stranded in the middle of the road during a massive snowstorm is relatively low, it’s still something you should actively think about. In other words, you should always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Water, food, clothing and survival equipment should always be a part of your winter checklist. A pair of flashlights, blankets, pre-packaged food and slip-resistant footwear is a must-have for every professional driver. You should also pack a couple of layers of clothing to help you push through particularly harsh weather if the need arises.

  • Wipers and Brakes

Always make sure your windshield wipers are operating properly. Slushy roads are particularly tricky to drive on, especially if your windshield wipers are not working as intended. Fast-spinning wheels of other vehicles can easily send slush onto your windshield, and if your wipers are slacking, you’re in for an unpleasant and potentially dangerous surprise.

In fact, some law enforcement officers in certain states can and will issue citations if they deem your vehicle dangerous due to broken (or suboptimal) windshield wipers.

You should also make sure all wheels are turning freely. Air brakes are especially vulnerable during winter months and cold weather. Make sure to confirm with the maintenance technician(s) that your brakes are working properly before going on the road.




Wherever you’re headed, you’re going to get there as long as you exercise caution. Countless drivers have made the fatal mistake of rushing to their destination to fill that quota, deliver a load, or come home a day earlier to spend the holidays with their families. Unfortunately, some of them ended up never coming back home.

It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others just to cut your trip short by a few hours or a day. Drive safe!