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Showing posts with label weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weather. Show all posts

Friday, January 20, 2017

How To Safely Navigate Your Semi Truck Through Winter Weather

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Brace yourselves, winter isn't coming, it’s already here. There have already been some major snowstorms, even in surprising places, like South Carolina and Georgia. Icy, snowy, and wet conditions can make driving tricky, especially for truckers, but you can’t just stop driving until Spring arrives. Instead, you have to drive through some wintery conditions, so do it correctly, and know when to stop.

Fighting The Ice


Before embarking on a winter trip check the weather, if a major blizzard is going to blow through your route then give yourself a few extra days to make your delivery. Keeping your life and preventing accidents is more important than getting tons of skittles to Wal-Mart. However, we do understand the certain situations when a delivery of essential items needs to be made.

Pack a bag of emergency items. Include extra blankets, and warm clothes like a waterproof jacket, a warm hat, gloves, and boots, in case you have to get out of your cab and wait to be rescued. If you stay in your cab you’ll need those blankets to keep warm. An idle truck doesn’t fill the cab for heat for long. Also, be careful, your cab could filling with carbon monoxide, which is lethal.

Your emergency kit should also include food and water in case you get stranded. A flashlight and flares so you can see in the dark, and people can see you. A windshield scraper, jumper cables, chains or traction mats, and a bag or either salt or sand.

When you’re getting ready to leave and at every stop top off your gas and make sure your windshield fluid is topped off with all season fluid that won’t freeze. Also, make sure your truck has antifreeze and has been serviced for winter conditions. Your tires should be winter tires or all season tires to have deeper grooves for more traction and they should be full of air.

Make sure that your heaters and defrosters are all working properly, along with your window wipers, which you should have a really good pair to wipe thick snow and ice away.

Defrost your windows completely and wipe all the snow away for the best visibility. Then wipe any snow from your headlights, tail lights, and blinkers away, so you can see and people can see you. Also, don’t forget to wipe the snow off the top of your cab! 

While driving, slow the heck down. Don’t accelerate too quickly, don’t brake too hard, and don’t take turns too quickly. Keep a firm grip on the wheel, stay calm, and don’t make sudden jerky movements. Never use cruise control as it over spins the tires if you start to slip or slide.

Keep extra distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. If you can see their taillights as snow is falling then you’re too close. Keep an eye on everyone around you. If you’re whizzing past people creeping in the right line, slow down. They’re probably creeping for a good reason.

Watch out for black ice. When conditions are between 22 to 32 degrees, it’s actually the most dangerous because the snow and ice are very wet and slippery, and the road freezes in some places that can be hard to see.

Be careful when you approach bridges, as they freeze first and can be tricky. Plus, pay attention to all road signs, they’re pretty serious with winter conditions. If a curve should be taken at 35 mph don’t push it.

If you have thoughts creeping in the back of your mind, then it’s time to stop. No need to push it. Simply pull off at a rest stop, motel, or 24-hour restaurant and wait it out. In most cases snow plows have interstates and ramps cleared pretty quickly.

Should you start to slip and lose control do not slam on the brakes, especially if your trailer isn’t straight. Ease off the gas and gently glide to a stop while maintaining your steering.

Happy Trucking


Winter has arrived and we're expecting a lot of snow storms this year, even in the Southern states. Watch out Texans, and northern Floridians, snow could even hit your area, so be prepared with the tools necessary to make it through wintry conditions, be safe, and know when to stop.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax and please share your stories about driving through wintery conditions in the comment section below.
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Driving Tips for Truckers

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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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