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Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Driving Tips for Truckers



We’ve all seen it – you’re headed down a snowy highway and there’s a rig jackknifed into a ditch, clearly underestimating the dangers of an icy road. We talk a lot about filing your 2290s around here at ExpressTruckTax, but sometimes we need to talk safety.

Specifically, winter safety! If you’re new to the Trucking Nation, we suggest you winterize your rig this season. I mean, your route might take you all over the country, even into Canada – so it’s best you prepare for icy roads. While seasoned truckers may have their own routine, it never hurts to have a refresher.


Driving Dangers


While you’re on an icy road, make sure you approach driving with caution! Sure, we could probably write a book on roadside safety for the winter, but we decided to boil it down to a few key points.


  • Go slow! While your freight is important, your life matters most. You might think a road is good to go, but you won’t know if you’ve hit black ice until it is too late. Take it slow, at least until you know the roads are clear.
  • Top off your fuel tanks for extra weight. Not only will the extra weight help slow you down and give you more friction on the icy roads, but you never know when fuel will be hard to come by during a winter storm.
  • Tail lights can be deceiving. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles! If you’re tailing another truck’s lights for guidance, you might follow a vehicle off the road. On the same note, your lights might confuse other drivers during low visibility. Keep your distance!
  • Don’t pull over to the shoulder if visibility is low. Oncoming traffic might mistake your rig for an off ramp, a side road, or they might fail to see you altogether. Make it to a truck stop or a motel, instead.
  • Follow brake standards. Braking a rig always takes expertise, but make sure you approach it with extra care during a winter storm. Also, remember that Jake brakes are designed for dry roads – it’s best not to ride them on the ice.
  • Choose CB over Sirius. During winter storms, it’s best to keep your CB radio on and turn the satellite radio off. Sometimes we get into the habit of listening to music or talk radio, but it’s safer to stay in communication with your fellow drivers during dangerous conditions.



Preparation is Key


Before you head out, take time to prepare your rig for the colder months. Stock up on winter supplies, and inspect your rig! While you’ve hauled plenty of loads by now, take a look at your truck with fresh eyes. Check to see if your lights are in working order, look for accumulated ice, and have a plan for de-icing your truck. And don’t forget to check for low tire pressure. Not only will under-inflated tires decrease your fuel efficiency, but they also reduce road control as well!

After you winterize your truck, stock up on supplies!

  • As the cold sets in, it’s best to have plenty of warm clothing, insulated socks, and top quality boots. It’s better to have extras than to go without! 
  • Consider bringing extra blankets, or even a sleeping bag for the cold nights ahead. 
  • Make sure you have some nonperishable food on hand, since restaurants and stores might close down or become hard to reach. It’s not a bad idea to have mixed nuts, dried fruit, jerky, and an extra water supply stashed away for emergencies. 
  • And don’t forget to keep your phone fully charged, or carry a backup phone charger/spare battery. The last thing you want is to lose contact during an emergency! 


At the end of the day, you know your truck and the roads better than anyone else. Use your best judgement, and if it’s too bad out there, DON’T BE A HERO! Nobody will hold it against you for taking the safe route.


While we can’t thaw the roads ourselves, we’re here if you need help e-filing your 2290s. If you have questions about filing your HVUT, our US-based support team is available to assist you by phone at 704.234.6005, by email at support@expresstrucktax.com, and by live chat at our website.



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