Solid advice backed by 20 years of driving experience
As a truck driver, it’s crucial to practice safe driving in order to increase efficiency and, more importantly, keep you alive. First and foremost, at Crete Carrier, our number one principle is safety, which is why we stand by our drivers and respect their decisions when it comes to handling hazardous situations. As a driver, you will, at times, experience unsafe driving conditions. We encourage drivers to follow their intuition when these moments arise. In addition, we interviewed several drivers to provide you with the best safe driving tips.
You’re the most important asset
Nothing in the trailer is as valuable as what is in the tractor. If you don’t feel comfortable with the weather you’re driving through, don’t do it. Crete will never press you to make a delivery if the conditions are dangerous. Your life means more to us than a truck full of freight. If you feel hesitant over 40 when everyone else is going 60, don’t feel pressured to keep up.
Driver Terry Waltman states, “You need to remember you’re the only one responsible for what happens. There comes a point where it doesn’t matter how much money you’re losing. Stop if you need too. Continue to do everything you can do, and the minute it’s not safe, there’s no other choice but to pull off.”
There comes a point where it doesn’t matter how much money you’re losing. Stop if you need too.
Look at your current route and anticipated weather; if it doesn’t look good it may be optimal to rethink your strategy. Driver Donald Shay suggests you get on MapQuest and run some alternative routes to ensure you have multiple options, and follow up with operations and to ensure they are aware of your situation. Your asset manager may have other solutions for you as well. The shortest, most direct route isn’t always the ideal option; you don’t want to drive through a snowstorm. Continuously weigh your options and reroute when necessary without hesitation.
Plan the extra miles and time it will take to go a new way. This may change later plans in your day and you want to be readily prepared if it does. Sam Walker shares that in his 33 years of service he has never had anyone write him up for out of route miles to avoid weather conditions. Out of route miles mean nothing when it comes to your safety. You won’t ever be in trouble for taking necessary precautions.
Follow your gut
Practicing safe driving includes good judgment along with a keen eye. Trust your intuition. That pit in your stomach is a signal something isn’t right. Your instincts could save your life. You are on the road every day. You know what you are comfortable driving in. Don’t risk your safety and the safety of other travelers by convincing yourself you can handle the weather. Sometimes it’s better to find a parking spot opposed to being pulled over in a storm for hours.
What to have on your truck
What you carry on your truck is just as important as how you drive in poor weather conditions. You want to have non-perishable foods. A few of our driver’s favorites are Chef Boyardee, pop-tarts, peanut butter, and water! Make sure to always carry and use fuel treatment. The company pays for it so there’s no excuse not to. Winter coats are a necessity. Some of our drivers recommend insulated jackets or arctic gear. Have a pair of jumper cables – opposed to having to call someone, especially for reefer. If you are a reefer driver and don’t have a pair, ask the shop -they’re free! In certain states, you are required by law to carry tire chains so always make sure to have these on the truck. Finally, always have a neon or reflective vest to wear so you stand out in adverse conditions.
We appreciate your dedication to practicing safe driving and hope you gained an idea or two to help when you’re in a situation that requires safety or a little reassurance.