4 Important Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

Check out these four winter driving tips on how new and experienced truck drivers can prep for winter driving.

When traveling in colder climates, one must always be ready. Winter driving on the roads of Illinois is not the same as in Florida. One road in a city may have black ice, while a different road in a different city may have sleet or hail! No matter what winter conditions you face on the road this year, remember that it can always be different just around the corner.

With winter coming up fast, there are preventative measures that you can take now in order to be better prepared for the different wintery conditions. Check out these four winter driving tips on how new and experienced truck drivers can prep for winter driving.

1. Think Ahead and Be Prepared

winter safety tips for truck drivers
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Perform a pre-trip inspection to make sure your truck is ready to go. You can do an inspection by looking at your tires, wiper blades, lights, fluids, etc. This is to avoid any maintenance problems down the road or any obvious issues evident now. It is better to know now than to find out during a snowstorm or somewhere you could get stranded for a while.

Another part to think about is using fuel that is treated and blended for low temperatures. Diesel exhaust fuel can freeze at temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and low fuel tanks can trap condensation. Carry Anti-Gel or Anti-Freeze in advance for bad, cold weather.

Download the Weather Channel App or read weather reports before hitting the road so you can prepare for the day ahead.

2. Winterize Your Truck and Yourself

truck driver staying warm truck driving in snow
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People around the world prep for the winter season by winterizing their homes and vehicles, and you can do the same! Prep your truck with winter necessities such as tire chains, supreme moving blankets, tow straps, recovery straps, tow hooks, and reflective vests. If you would like to learn more about tire chains, read our blog post on how to choose and use tire chains like a pro.

Other necessities you should consider carrying in your truck include flashlights, extra windshield wiper fluid, a bag of salt or sand, and jumper cables.

Along with prepping your truck for the winter, make sure to prep yourself! To stay warm and safe, invest in heavy blankets and warm bedding, gloves and scarves, thermal socks, boots with great traction, and at least a day’s worth of food and water. Taking care of yourself is crucial for your health and safety, and it never hurts to pack food as a backup.

3. Use Caution

traffic sign snowy curvy road
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It should go without saying, but during this time you should be extra careful to follow and obey all road signs, brake lightly, and always be mindful of current conditions. These are rules created by safety authorities, and they are created for a reason: safety for yourself and those around you.

Another critical rule to recognize is to use extra caution when approaching bridges. Bridges and elevated structures are the first to freeze, and many are not treated with ice/snow melting materials like the rest of the roadways. Hold your steering wheel firmly and pay attention to the surface feel of the roads.

4. If Conditions Look Bad, Just Get Off the Road

truck driver waiting for roads to clear up
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Your safety matters more. If you feel that it doesn’t seem safe to be driving, then you might be better off waiting it out. Listen to weather reports and warnings, communicate with your fleet or with fellow drivers, and react appropriately.

Want to learn more about winter safety tips for truck drivers? Consider reading these:

15 Winter Driving Kit Essentials

Winter Weather: Be Aware and Prepared

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and prepared for the upcoming winter season. Let us know if we can help provide you with the vehicle safety supplies or tires chains you need to keep on hauling!

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

Read these five tips on how to get a good night sleep when you are on the job.

We all know about how important it is for truck drivers to stay awake while on the road, but what about falling asleep? Obviously, the better you sleep at night, the longer you’ll be able to go the next day. But when sleeping in a semi-truck, there are distractions that can keep you awake and they’re hard to ignore sometimes.

Don’t give up and feel like you have to get a hotel room just to feel rested, here are 5 tips that can help you fall asleep faster in your very own cozy semi bed!

1. Block out ALL Noise

where do truck drivers sleep
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If you can, try to park away from all the other trucks and other potentially loud distractions. Another tip to consider is choosing parking places that have minimum outside traffic.

You can also invest in earplugs or a “white noise” machine such as a fan to reduce sounds inside your truck. If your phone has the ability to turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode or to alert you for only important contacts, consider doing that before bedtime. We all know how hard it can be to ignore a text or phone call, but those noises and your bright phone screen will only make it harder to sleep.

2. Turn Off and Block All Lights

tips for sleeping in a semi truck in parking lot
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Although this is self-explanatory, remember that even the smallest amount of light can bother you! There are ways to block all lights immediately including investing in some curtains or shades to cover all windows in your truck, a large sunshade over your windshield, and using something to cover any electronic lights within your rig.

If all fails, then invest in a sleep mask. You can get them for a cheap price at the dollar store or a convenience store.

3. Get Comfortable

inside a truck sleeper bedroom and mattress
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Is your truck sleeper cab getting uncomfortable? Maybe it’s time to replace or upgrade your mattress. Having a comfortable bed not only helps you sleep better, but it also helps prevent soreness or aches when you wake up in the morning.

Another thing to consider is purchasing a new mattress pad to place on top of the sleeper. Foam mattress toppers are less of an investment than getting a whole new mattress and they also provide benefits like providing more cushion and reducing pressure points.

4. Have a Routine

semi truck sleeper cab layout
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Trucking can at times be unpredictable, but try your best to maintain a bedtime routine. Your body loves routines and will adjust well when you maintain that routine. Whether it’s reading a book or watching your favorite show, try to stay in a familiar routine for the best chance of sleeping well in your semi-truck.

With that in mind, try to keep regular hours with your job, or at least try to avoid often swapping between day and night shifts. Too much schedule changes can affect your sleep, and it’s best to avoid that.

5. Keep Your Truck Cool and Comfortable for You

air temperature controls inside semi truck for better sleep at night
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Everybody’s preferred temperature varies, so be sure to keep your semi at a temperature that is comfortable for you. When it’s warm outside, consider using a small fan for extra airflow. When it’s getting colder, have extra bedding or a small heater in your truck. In fact, if you are looking for extra warmth for the upcoming winter, then check out our black USCC hooded sweatshirt!

Good Sleep = Good Health

Good sleep is just as important as the right nutrition and exercise. If you’re unable to find success sleeping in your semi-truck, you may experience crankiness or bad moods, an increase in health risks, and even over-eating. Make sure to take care of yourself and look to improve your sleep now.

If you want to be healthier, check out 6 simple ways to be a healthier truck driver.

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and well-rested. You are the backbone of America’s economy, and we appreciate all that you do to keep us moving forward.

National Farmer’s Day

National Manufacturing Day is a day to celebrate farmers across the nation for all their hard work to provide food for everybody.

Without Farmers and Agriculture, there would be no food in grocery stores or on our tables.

National Farmer’s Day was on October 12th. Originally known as Old Farmer’s Day, it is a day to pay tribute to the men, women, and families who put food in our grocery stores and onto our tables every day.

Since the beginning of agriculture, the impact of farmers hasn’t just been their integrity and their continued ability to provide our nation with the food we eat. They contribute to our economy in several ways. Farmers supply a stream of jobs, keep small and large communities together, and provide numerous products and needs that keep other businesses running. Other products and industries that are relied on by agriculture include restaurants, transportation, apparel, railroads, and more.

Source: Leverage

National Farmer’s Day was set on October 12th because it is after the traditional harvest time of many crops. This way, farmers would be able to join in on the festivities because they are done with the harvesting.

One of the things US Cargo Control is able to help farmers with is providing them with the right tools for their farm equipment. In fact, we recently hosted an Iowa Corn Growers event at US Cargo Control headquarters. The event included important training and discussion on how to safely extract a vehicle with the proper equipment, as well as giving additional information on the products we carry and how they help ensure safety when transferring cargo both on and off public roadways.

USCC team member, Tim Sanders, talking to the crowd of Iowa Corn Grower Members.

Some of the equipment discussed in this lecture included shackles, recovery straps, and tow straps. We carry galvanized shackles and stainless steel shackles, but they have different applications. Stainless steel shackles are used for marine applications, while galvanized shackles are more for industrial applications.

Along with shackles, it is important to know which strap to use. Recovery straps are the better choice to use to extract a stuck vehicle because of the nylon fabrication. Tow straps are not recommended for extracting stuck vehicles but are better for moving a free-moving vehicle behind your vehicle.

To learn more about how to use these products, read about the types of shackles we carry as well as the difference between recovery straps and tow straps.

To all the farmers who work hard every day, thank you for all that you do. Being headquarted in Central Iowa, we understand how important agriculture is and your presence is much appreciated!

Source: Leverage

If you have any questions, give our team of experts a call at 800-404-7068.

What’s New with the US Cargo Control Team?

National Manufacturing Day is a special day at US Cargo Control, where we take the time to celebrate our manufacturing team for all of their hard work.

This past Friday, October 4th, was National Manufacturing Day and it was a special day for our hardworking Manufacturing team. National Manufacturing Day is a day where we celebrate and support all manufacturers for maintaining the retail ecosystem’s growth.

Our Manufacturing team was celebrated in a few different ways. First, they got a nice surprise with a poster displaying how much they are appreciated. Next, they were awarded the QHSE Safety Award by the Associated Wire Rope Fabricators for the second time!

An Appreciation Poster for the Manufacturing Team

This is two years in a row our Manufacturing team has been awarded this recognition and it’s a very exciting thing for US Cargo Control to receive. We take pride in continually promoting a safe work environment, and reaching our goals. Being safe at work and home helps promote a healthy workforce, which results in being more productive, having fewer days away from work, and even getting better insurance rates.

The criteria to receive this recognition is based on company and safety information; Factors such as lost time, injuries, hours worked, and recordable rates. 

What’s Next for US Cargo Control?

Jim Waite, Quality & Safety Manager

As head of our Safety Team, Jim Waite is excited to start executing on our required OSHA-approved safety training that will be rolling out to all employees later this year (2019).  Now that we are transitioning away from external training to our own internal training, the team can better customize the training to our needs with some added fun. Making the switch to internal training reaffirms our commitment to maintaining a safe workplace and manufacturing floor.

Way to go, Manufacturing team!

The manufacturing team is the backbone of US Cargo Control, and they go above and beyond to make sure customers get what they want, when they need it. Without the team, our customers wouldn’t have the option to have customized products like tarps, cargo nets, ratchet straps, lifting slings, and more! Call our team for a customized order and our manufacturing team will be glad to get it done for you.

The USCC Manufacturing Floor in Urbana, Iowa

What Else is New?

In other news, the warehouse team got a brand new toy…a forklift! After voting for a name, the team decided to call the newest forklift “Darryl”. They’re all excited about this new arrival and can’t wait to use it to quickly get your orders out of the door and into your hands!

The Warehouse Team with their new Forklift

If you have any questions, give our team of experts a call at 800-404-7068.