Five Winter Driving Tips From a Seasoned Trucker

Over a decade and half as a trucker, I can tell you that truckers all love snow. However, commerce does not stop because of inclement weather. That means trucks do not stop.

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1. Do not turn your car into an animal cage

Common sense may tell you to close your windows and wrap up to prevent frostbite. Although it might seem counterintuitive to open a window, even if your gut says you should keep your warmth in, you may need to do so. If cars are left in icy conditions for long periods of time, it is easy to become trapped inside your vehicle. This can be prevented by simply cracking the window slightly.

2. Never touch your control panel.

People who embark on a long-distance road trip often fall prey to the temptation of not turning the cruise control on and instead just holding the steering wheel steady. It was the CDL test that made me fall in love with trucking. This bad habit can be even worse when you are dealing with snowy conditions. Hydroplaning can cause your wheels to accelerate quickly if they are on wet or icy surfaces. The car will detect this loss of speed as a loss in traction. This is a serious problem that modern cars won’t allow you to activate cruise control while the windshield wipers work.

3. The lifesaver of eating is eating lifesavers

No matter the weather, I keep a few hard candy mints in every cup holder. Peppermint is more than just a sweet treat. It’s a way to boost your senses and combat fatigue.

If you find yourself stuck in the snow, remember to keep some hard candy handy. It can cause discomfort and wicked halitosis if your mouth is left dry in winter. It can lead to mouth sores or infections if it is left untreated.

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4. Road salt that fails

A large bag of road salt is not something you should have on hand if you are stuck in the middle nowhere. You can get adequate traction by digging through the snow for enough gravel or sand. To prevent frostbite, limit your outdoor exposure. It can be beneficial to be a cat person. If you have a bag full of cat litter, it can serve as an excellent substitute for road salt. Although I have never had a cat, I can tell you that I was a cat lover in October 1991.

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5. Fighting snow with snow

I am fortunate to never have been stranded on the side of the road. It can be a good idea to use snow as an insulation if you find yourself outside in below-zero temperatures for long periods of time. Many survivalists know that snow can be used to retain body heat and combat wind chill. It can also be helpful to fill your car with snow in order to make a temporary igloo. It can be as absurd as it sounds and it can keep you warm.

For ventilation purposes, make sure you leave a crack in the window. If someone passes by, be sure to light a flare to alert them.