3 Winter Truck Driving Tips: How to Protect your Rig from Salt and Grime

Learn how to fight salt and grime during these salty winter months.

As it continues to snow this time of the year, we worry about our vehicles when we drive through salt and grime. Not only is driving in the snow treacherous, but the salt used to melt ice on the roads can do a number on your rig. The paint job can come off and it will cause your truck to rust. This is a pain to deal with, but something that can be preventative.

To ensure the salt and grime don’t ruin your truck during these salty winter months, read these few easy steps.

1. Stay Clean

winter truck driving
Courtesy of Adobe Stock

If you often drive in wintry conditions, a truck wash every one to two weeks can prevent salt from ruining the paint. You can hand wash or pressure wash your truck yourself, just like what you would do with your personal vehicle. If you are not feeling like washing it yourself, another option is to go through a truck wash. As long as you do one of these, the paint of your truck will never chip off!

Fun Fact: Make sure to rinse the wheels, its rims and under the chassis. if you do not do this, the salt will become an accelerant for oxidation and rusting.

2. Wax your Truck

winter safety tips for truck drivers
Courtesy of Adobe Stock

After the truck is washed and dried, it’s good to put a coat of wax on it. Waxing creates a protective barrier for your truck that can prevent salt and grime from accumulating in the first place. The best time to wax your truck is before winter starts, but you can still wax your vehicle after giving it a thorough cleaning.

3. Get the Snow and Ice off of the Top of your Trailer

truck driving in snow
Courtesy of Adobe Stock

This is not a tip that can get salt and grime off your truck, but rather a safety tip to protect drivers around you and yourself. Unfortunately, snow and ice slipping from the top of your trailer can potentially injure a person when they are driving behind you. The snow and ice can actually fall off and hit the driver.

This is something you’d want to avoid as you can get fined from some states. To prevent this from happening, make sure to get the snow off of your trailer before you start driving.

Tip: If you need to get it off quickly yourself, invest in a broom or extended brush. These items will do the job well.

Need more winter driving tips? Check out 4 Important Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe during the 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!

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!

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