Winter Weather Driving Tips

by: Karol Smith on

Below we have some very sound tips from our friends at for winter driving in a commercial motor vehicle. 

Trucking requires full concentration on the road. Not only must commercial drivers contend with other motorists, dangerous weather conditions, and wandering wildlife, but they must do so while operating large rigs, often carrying heavy and sometimes dangerous cargo. One mistake carries possible huge repercussions.

To help stay out of harm’s way, consider the following safety tips when driving:

  • Do not tailgate. Be patient. Maintain proper space with the vehicle in front of you. According to studies, the most common vehicle trucks hit is the one in front of them,     due to tailgating. The bigger the rig the longer it takes to brake and stop.
  • Signal early when approaching an intersection, giving other motorists ample warning of your intended direction.
  • With so many blind spots on a truck, minimize lane changing. Check your side mirrors at least once every 10 seconds.
  • Use the truck’s flashers when driving below the posted speed limit for an extended period of time.
  • Give your truck ample time and space when slowing down for a complete stop. Use brake lights early. Most motorists don’t realize how long it takes for a rig to stop.
  • If you must idle the truck, keep windows cracked open to avoid prolonged exposure to fumes. Avoid idling while sleeping, loading, or unloading if possible. 
  • When pulled off to the side of a road, highway, or Interstate due to mechanical problems, always use flashers, reflective triangles, and even road flares to alert approaching drivers. Note: this is the first item that should be attended whenever pulled over on a public roadway.
  • Always have tire chains at the ready, especially when driving in mountainous regions.
  • Try to maintain a full fuel tank in winter driving to prevent water condensation from building in the fuel lines.
  • Maintain additional space with the vehicles in front of you when driving in rain or snow.
  • Operate below the posted speed limit when driving in wintry conditions.
  • Exercise caution when approaching bridges in wintertime. Bridges freeze faster than roads, creating difficult to detect black ice.
  • Slow down in work zones. Close to one-third of all fatal work zone crashes involve large rigs. Plus, you could lose your commercial drivers license if caught speeding in a posted work zone.
  • Take plenty of driving breaks, especially while driving cross-country, to help remain alert.
  • Don’t fight eye-fatigue. Pull off the road and take a nap. The consequences of falling asleep at the wheel, far outweigh those associated with arriving late. Make sure you have a good pair of sun glasses for sunny driving in snowy conditions. Driving on a sunny winter day will fatigue you faster than in any other season. 
  • Strictly adhere to commercial driver hour restrictions. By law you cannot exceed 11 continuous hours of driving. You could jeopardize your truck driving career if caught violating this law. 

For additional safety driving tips, consult your state's DCL Manual. You can grab one from any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, or download a copy from your DMV’s website.

Did we miss anything? Share your wisdom with our online community by leaving your comment below.


by: Karol Smith on

Brake Safety Week is September 6-12. Tens of thousands of vehicles can expect an inspection by state and federal inspectors, with an emphasis placed on brake components. 

According to CVSA, inspectors will look for "brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors and other faulty brake-system components."

CVSA said during the 2014 inspection spree, inspectors from participating agencies inspected 13,305 vehicles, resulting in 2,162 trucks put out-of-service for brake violations.

Posted by the MTA Weekly Dispatch - September 1, 2015

Speed Limiters---Let's weigh in with CCJ and OOIDA

by: Karol Smith on

CCJ published a very interesting article this week on the upcoming Speed Limiter mandate.

OOIDA and ATA are looking for feedback. 

How do you feel about speed limiters in commercial vehicles? 

We are interested in finding out your thoughts on this controversial subject.

Please comment below. Please keep your comments professional. 

Minnesota Trucking Association

by: Paul Gerou on

StarTribune Article Says, "Show Truck Drivers More Respect" 

The Minnesota Trucking Association was successful in placing a story in the StarTribune regarding how to safely share the road with big trucks.


"Nathan Wick logs thousands of miles a year driving a semitrailer truck for UPS Freight. The hours are long and demanding, but the most stressful part of his job is the driving behavior of other motorists. Wick says motorists have lost respect for big rigs, and as a result put themselves and his fellow truck drivers at risk. The Drive recently went for a ride with the 2012 Minnesota Trucking Association's Driver of the Year and it didn't take long to see why he feels that way.


On our short trip on Interstate 35W from Blaine to Forest Lake in blinding rain, drivers changing lanes failed to give ample clearance when pulling in front of Wick. ­Others tailgated or drove in his blind spot for extended periods. A few got too close for comfort, all behaviors rife with dangers."


Read the complete story