4 Important Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

With the days getting shorter, it can be challenging and dangerous driving at night. Read these 4 nighttime truck driving tips to stay safe.

Short winter days increase the challenge of driving at night.

With the days getting shorter, chances are you’ll be doing a lot of your driving after the sun sets and visibility lowers. Most everyone will agree that nighttime driving can be trying and increases the potential dangers of the road. To help you drive your best at night and arrive at your destination safely, we have 4 important tips for nighttime semi-truck driving.

1. Keep a Clean Windshield

Night time driving
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Driving at night doesn’t get any easier with insects and dirt stuck to your windshield. If you ignore the mess, it will build up and get worse. A dirty windshield can actually cause light to reflect in the wrong way and limit your visibility at night. Be sure to clean your windshield whenever you can, and consider replacing your wiper blades soon to keep your windshield clean.

2. Feeling Drowsy? Pull Over

Night car driving
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

A good night’s sleep is important for everybody, but for truck drivers, the right amount of rest is critical for safety. If you try to fight drowsiness, it can be dangerous not only for other drivers sharing the road with you but for yourself as well. When you start to feel drowsy, pull over and call it a night.

Want some tips for how to sleep soundly in your rig? Read 5 Tips for How to Sleep Better at Night.

3. Don’t Look into the Light

driving at night headlights
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Staring at the headlights of oncoming traffic can be distracting, especially when they shine directly at you or any of your mirrors. When you don’t look away, it can affect your night vision, cause damage to your retina, and slow down your reaction time. You could become a deer in the headlights!

When this occurs, try to look down and off to the right side until traffic passes. As long as you can see the white line on the shoulder, your truck will be fine while your vision adjusts to the passing line. If a car with high beams is coming towards you, adjust your mirrors to block the glare away from your eyes.

4. Avoid Distracted Driving

driving at night time
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

How many times have you been told not to use your phone while driving? It might get old hearing it, but that rule exists for a reason. And even though it applies during all times of the day, being on your phone is especially dangerous at night given the fact that you already can’t see much of the road. Resist the temptation to use your phone and other devices while driving, and call your friends and loved ones when you are on a break or done driving for the day. They’ll be glad you waited!

Be Prepared for Winter with Vehicle Safety Supplies

If you need to pull over or stop during hazardous driving conditions this winter, make sure you’re prepared with supplies to alert others of your surroundings. We have vehicle safety supplies to help you in these situations. Make sure you have LED warnings lights, safety vests and hard hats, flags and signs, and more for safe transport. Our team is here to help you get what you want, when you need it.

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe. Let us know what trucking equipment you need to be prepared this winter. Give our team of experts a call at 800-969-6543.

Wide Load and Oversize Load Banner Requirements by State

 

coverA load is considered oversized if it exceeds the standard legal size or weight limits for a road or highway. There are also “load per axle” limits for the weight of a load. Examples of wide or oversized loads include pre-fabricated homes, construction machinery, industrial equipment, and wind turbine propellers.button

Using oversize load banner signs, safety flags and wide load banners is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirement for any commercial motor vehicle handling an oversized or wide load. Size and weight parameters vary between states, so it is important to research what the rules are for states through which you will be transporting oversized or wide loads.

Vehicles transporting wide or oversized loads often require special permits, which usually mean extra fees to travel legally on certain roads and highways. These permits often specify dates and times that travel with oversized or wide loads is allowed, along with certain routes that the vehicles are allowed to take.

Click a state in the list below for more information about wide load and oversize load banner requirements, safety guidelines, and permit information:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Reflective Tape for Tractor Trailers

 

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Avery Dennison Conspicuity Tape

conspicuity-tapeConspicuity tape is a highly reflective tape that greatly increases nighttime visibility of tractor trailers and other large vehicles. It’s also sometimes called DOT tape because of federal laws that require it for use on semi-trucks.

A general overview of the requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for tractor trailers states:

• Tractors must have alternating white and red tape placed on the mud flap brackets, as well as reflective white tape on the upper corners of the rear of the cab.

Reflexite® White Curved Conspicuity Tape for Tankers
Reflexite® White Curved Conspicuity Tape for Tankers

• Trailers must have alternating white and red tape placed on the bottom of the doors, on each side, and on the rear impact guard (ICC bar). Two pieces of white tape must also be on the rear upper corners (rounded strips of white tape is available for tankers).

For full guidelines, visit the FMCSA website.

A visual guide to placement of tape is also available in this PDF Conspicuity Requirements for Commercial Motor Vehicles:

Conspicuity and reflector requirements 393 11

While conspicuity tape is not required on smaller trailers such as horse trailers, or other livestock, recreational, etc. trailers and vehicles, it’s always a good idea to be as visible as possible, especially in the event of lighting failure while on the road. And because it’s available in individual strips, it’s an easy and economical way to increase safety for yourself and other drivers on the road.

You can see our full line of conspicuity reflective tape here: Reflective Conspicuity Tape.

And check out this post for even more ideas for conspicuity tape uses: 6 Handy Uses for Reflective Tape.