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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

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 Pieces of Flatbed Trailer Equipment Every Driver Should Have

We carry quality products to keep you and your flatbed trailer moving forward. Check out the five most popular pieces of equipment made for flatbed owners.

From corner protectors to tire chains, we have the flatbed equipment for your trailer to keep you running smoothly

Being a flatbed trailer owner, you know there is not much your trailer cannot hold. Your load is exposed, and you need the equipment to hold it down tight while protecting it from abrasions or damage. Whether you’re a new flatbed truck driver or an experienced one, we carry supplies that can help you deliver your cargo load safely and on time.

Tire Chains

These tire chains, also known as snow tire chains, are designed to help transport you and your cargo to your destination through snowy or icy conditions. These snow chains provide added control behind the wheel when you’re stuck in the snow, and allow better traction as well.

We carry light-duty tire chains and heavy-duty tire chains. The difference is in how you plan on using these types of chains. If you think you will rarely use a tire chain during the cold months, consider the light-duty chain. If you know you will be using chains frequently, then you might want to invest in a heavy-duty chain.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t travel regularly in winter conditions, some states do have DOT regulations requiring drivers to carry or use tire chains during the winter season. So make sure to carry tire chains in your vehicle during the chilly months.

Tarps

Tarps are one of the best ways to protect your cargo load. We carry heavy- duty tarps that fight against elements such as rain and snow. Not only can they combat certain weather situations, but these tarp covers can also prevent scratches and marks on your precious cargo. These truck tarps contain two or three rows of d-rings across the length of the tarp, so the tarp can be tied down firmly to the truck bed. Some of the different types of tarps we carry are lumber tarps, steel tarps, machinery tarps, smoke and nose tarps, and more.

We even create custom flatbed tarps at our facility in Urbana, IA. In this video, Adam explains how our team creates long-lasting custom tarps at your convenience.

Corner Protectors & Vee Boards

Corner protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your cargo. Not only can they protect your cargo from being smashed or damaged, but these guards can also protect your straps, chains, and tarps. They are designed to protect the tarp material from any ripping or abrasions caused by sharp corners. The purpose behind these wall corner guards is providing a layer between the cargo and the strap or chain, and having this extra layer can decrease the pressure on the load from the strap/chain.

Learn more about which corner protector to use for your cargo.

Fun fact: the plastic corner protectors can extend the life of your ratchet straps by reducing rubbing.

Winch Straps & Ratchet Straps

Both ratchet straps and winch straps work well for heavy tie down applications for the trucking industry. The only differences are in how to tighten the straps, and what type of lock the two straps carry.

When using the ratchet strap, you slide the strap to the spool, bring it back over on itself, and pull the strap. After this, you can start to ratchet and repeatedly crank the lever until the load is tightened. Both tie-down types are available with a flat hook, wire hook, chain extension, or grab hook.

We carry many colors like red, green, blue, and yellow so you can recognize what strap you are using, as well as matching your company or vehicle’s colors.

D-rings

A D-ring is a piece of hardware shaped like the letter D, that can connect to the strap or be mounted directly to your flatbed trailer to secure your cargo. D-rings and straps are a flexible way to supply a trailer with many tie-down points to secure the cargo load. We carry many different styles of d-rings, and we have d-ring parts and accessories that allow you to customize your trailer configuration.

We also carry transport chains and binders, rubber/bungee tarp straps, safety supplies, winch bars, and more. Learn more about the flatbed trailer equipment we carry on our USCC website.

Call our team of experts at 800-404-7068 if you have any questions or need more information.

Top 10 Cargo Control Products to be Thankful For

As the scent of fresh-carved turkey and pumpkin pie inches closer and closer to our noses, it’s important to resist the temptation of retreating to the comfort of your recliner for a nap or the warmth of your bed to, well, get away from the in-laws. There will be plenty of time for naps and in-law annoyances come Thanksgiving Day. Until then, you’ve got work to do.

And just in time for the holiday season, US Cargo Control has compiled a list of the top 10 cargo control products to be thankful for. One way or another, they’re all bound to come in handy this time of year.

 

best waterproof tarp material

1. Tarps

Cover your firewood, boat, or motorcycle for the winter or bring a tarp on your next hunting trip to wrap and drag back game easily. Even if you’re not a professional truck driver using tarps to cover your cargo, a good quality tarp has nearly endless possibilities.

 

 

2. Motorcycle Tie Down Straps

Your dirtbikes and motorcycles can all be transported to and from winter storage without a scratch thanks to these specialty motorcycle ratchet straps. Add a plush protective tie down cover for even more protection.

 

 

 

how effective are snow chains

3. Tire Chains

Slip a set of snow chains on your vehicle to drastically increase grip and safety. With these high-quality and easy to use tire chains, no winter weather will keep you from moving forward.

 

 

 

 

4. Recovery Strapswhere to get recovery straps

This cargo control product is an invaluable tool to have in your truck or SUV during the winter months. You can save someone’s day by pulling them out of the ditch with a heavy-duty tow strap.

 

 

 

5. Safety Trianglesemergency warning triangles

If you find yourself in a ditch or pulled over to the side of the road during these cold and dark winter nights, you’ll need to always make yourself visible to others. Keep a set of these fluorescent orange warning triangles with you to stay safe.

 

 

 

6. Blackline Ratchet Straps

It doesn’t matter how big of a Christmas tree you get when you have these heavy-duty Blackline straps. With the strongest break strength in the industry, these could be used to bring the that massive Christmas tree into Time Square.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Good-N-Tight Ratchet Strap Handle

Putting less strain on your back when tightening ratchet straps is something you’ll be thankful for, for years to come. The inventive Good-N-Tight Handle even makes the job easier by giving you three times the leverage.

 

 

 

8. Corner Protectors

These simple devices ensure that cargo (including your Christmas presents) gets delivered damage free. Plastic corner protectors also help extend the life of your ratchet straps by reducing rubbing.

 

 

 

 

9. Camo Moving Blanket

Friday night football games, early morning hunting trips, or to protect your vehicle’s seats from the dog’s hair and slobber – camo colored moving blankets can be used for much more than just moving.

 

 

 

10. USCC Branded Stainless Steel Mug

Unless your one of those people that likes a cold cup of coffee, a USCC branded tumbler is a no-brainer for cold winter months. This 30-ounce insulated mug, will keep your drink warm for up to six hours.

 

 

 

There you have it, 10 cargo control products that provide plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and beyond. Do the preparation work now and come Thanksgiving, you’ll have earned that nap, and maybe even an extra piece of pie.

 

How to Choose and Use Tire Chains like a Pro

Tire chains are a lifesaver once roads become covered with ice and hard-packed snow. Here in Eastern Iowa, the temperatures are falling quickly as we wave farewell to summer and slide closer towards winter. Make sure you’re fully prepared for hazardous winter road conditions by stocking up on quality steel tire chains for your vehicle.

 

When to use Snow Chains

Obviously, you’ll want to use tire chains when there’s a layer of snow or ice on the road you’re driving on. But, you do not want to drive with snow chains on your truck or semi tires when there is no snow or ice present. This could not only cause damage to the road (which can result in fines), but it could also destroy your tires.

Since you never know exactly when snow or ice could show up, it’s smart to carry a full set of tire chains with you in your vehicle. Commercial truck drivers, who need numerous tire chains, might consider investing in a toolbox for their truck or a tire chain carrier that will help protect chains and also keep them organized.

 

Tire Chain Laws

There are strict tire chain laws in many states that require truck drivers to have the appropriate tire chains in their rig at all times. Once the snowy weather sets in, it’s common to see roadside checkpoints pop-up where officials check to make sure you have the proper number of chains. If you don’t, you may be fined. Some states also have laws that explicitly prohibit the use of tire chains in certain situations, so be aware of the laws in the state which you are driving.

how fast can you go with tire chains
Most people recommend you not exceed 30mph with tire chains on.

 

How Fast can you Drive with Chains?

If you have tire chains on, you should really never be going faster than 30mph. Faster speeds risk damaging the chain links and that could wreak havoc on your tires or fenders.

 

Practice Installing your Tire Chains

Winter weather changes quickly and some roads you drive on will be worse than others depending on when a snowplow comes through. Instead of learning how to put your tire chains on when you’re pulled over on the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard, it’s a smart idea to practice putting them on and off in more favorable conditions. This will help minimize frozen fingers and also save you a bunch of time. Also, if you don’t already, you should keep a high visibility reflective safety vest with you and emergency warning triangles so that passing drivers can see you in those low-visibility conditions.

 

Tire Chain Comparison Guide

The main difference among the tire chains sold at US Cargo Control is seen in the chain link styles. The Glacier chain made by Pewag has twist links, while the more premium Pewag tire chain features square links. Square links provide higher traction on ice compared to twist links but come at a higher cost. Twist links and square links both perform quite well in snow. Another huge benefit to using square link tire chains is their ability to be reversed without causing damage. This allows them to have double the life, and also makes it easier to install them.

snow chains for sale online
The more economical Glacier snow tire chains are a lighter weight since they are made of carbon steel.

how effective are snow chains
The Premium Pewag tire chains are heavier since they are made of a thicker alloy steel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy the Best Tire Chains

Below is a chart that outlines all the differences you should know when deciding which type of tire chain is best for you.

Part #Tire SizeSingle or Dual Tire?Chain WeightLink StyleSteel TypeSteel ThicknessReversible?Side Cam Installation?
TC225SG22.5"Single51 Lbs.TwistCarbon6mmNoYes
TC225SP22.5"Single56 Lbs.SquareAlloy7mmYesYes
TC225DG22.5"Dual94 Lbs.TwistCarbon6mmNoYes
TC225DP22.5"Dual103 Lbs.SquareAlloy7mmYesYes
TC245SG24.5"Single56 Lbs.TwistCarbon6mmNoYes
TC245SP24.5"Single59 Lbs.SquareAlloy7mmYesYes
TC245DG24.5"Dual101 Lbs.TwistCarbon6mmNo Yes
TC245DP24.5"Dual105 Lbs.SquareAlloy7mmYesYes

 

New Warehouse Space Nearly Complete

The big news at US Cargo Control really is big- as in a new warehouse space to house USCC products. Another 42,750 square feet has been added, which nearly triples the current warehouse space.

Several new products have been added to the US Cargo Control merchandise line-up recently, including replacement tie down straps, tire chains, rope, hand trucks, reflective tape, and even a line of premium heavy duty tie down straps, BlackLine. The new warehouse space will allow us to keep more inventory on hand so customers can receive orders more quickly.

293946_10152238994882619_1596374093_n

 

We’ve also added a trailer set to use for filming instructional videos about our products. Let us know if there are any US Cargo Control products you’d like to see in our videos.

Keep checking back for even more pictures as we add in racking and products in the warehouse, and create new videos with the trailer set. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

New Products Review: Flatbed Trailer Products

Lots of new products have rolled out onto our US Cargo Control website lately, including many in our flatbed trailer group from Merritt®- a trusted manufacturer in the industry.

If there’s a product or a group of new items you’d like to see added to our website, be sure to let us know- either by a comment below or contacting us at 866-444-9990.

Headache Racks

Image of headache rack
Merritt® Headache Rack

A Merritt® Equipment headache rack is an excellent investment for a truck/trailer. Sometimes also known as limited security racks (LSR) or cab guards for trucks, these not only look sharp but can add a measure of security to the cab in the event of an accident. We offer two aluminum cab guard styles: 70″ wide with E-Z view window and an 80″ wide with chain racks. Both feature Dyna-Tube extrusion on the outer edge for a tough yet smooth aerodynamic border. Mounting kits in both a 17″ size and a 21″ size are also available so you’ll have everything you need for easy installation.

 

Tire Chain Carriers

Image of tire chain carrier
Merritt® Tire Chain Carrier

It’s not too early to be thinking of winter driving. Tire chain holders that mount right to the frame are a great way to keep chains organized, and a locking lid keeps them secure. The space-saving design is only 8” wide and is available in both an 18” size for frames with fairing packages and a 24″ size for open frame models.

Also be sure to check our selection of tire chains. We offer two styles, both from Pewag, a trusted manufacturer in the chain industry.

 

Deck Covers

Image of deck cover
Merritt® Deck Cover

Aluminum Dyna-Deck covers are a simple, fast way to create sturdy walking deck spaces on your rig. The top-mount design is ribbed to create a non-skid surface and allow for draining. Variable mounting points make them easy to install, with no drilling required. All are 33.25″ wide so they easily slide together. Choose from three different lengths:  18.5″L, 28″L, 37.5“. Each deck cover meets DOT regulations for a walk area.