The holiday season can be an intense time of year for professional truck drivers. December brings an increase in holiday travel, with trucks scrambling to deliver packages on time and people traveling by car to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.
Add in bad weather if you drive through snowy states, fewer daylight hours, and distracted drivers ignoring speed limits and road signs, and it’s no wonder holiday traffic is extra stressful for truck drivers.
As a professional commercial vehicle driver, your experience and commitment to safety are so important to the motoring public in general. Driving tips can be a welcome reminder to take extra precaution at this time of year.
Buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the following five ways to safely navigate holiday traffic and get where you need to go.
1 - Perform Regular Maintenance Checks
Before hitting the highway, keep yourself and other drivers safe by performing a routine preventative maintenance check on your semi-truck.
Check that your headlights and stop/tail/turn lights are well-lit for night driving and clean them often. Ensure your brakes are in good working order, as you never know when you might need to make an emergency stop. Check your tires for irregular wear or recent damage.
Traffic, weather, and accidents are unpredictable during December, so it’s better to be vigilant about maintenance checks and stay safe on the road.
If you’re in the South Atlantic region, you can schedule regular maintenance checks for your semi-trailer at any CRTS location.
2 - Remove All Driving Distractions
During the holidays, drivers are often stressed for various reasons and can be oblivious to what’s happening around them. Distracted drivers can be deadly as they are more likely to veer into the next lane, switch lanes without shoulder checking, and even run a stop sign.
Because of this, you must do everything you can to pay attention while operating your semi-truck and keep your eyes on the road at all times.
This includes anything that could divert your attention, even for a second. Avoid eating or drinking, reading and replying to text messages, or surfing the internet on your cell phone.
3 - Follow Posted Speed Limits and Road Signs
The best way to avoid feeling like you need to speed or make unsafe lane changes is to plan ahead. Know your route, check the weather, and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. If your trip includes driving through a major city, try to plan your trip so you travel through those areas when traffic congestion is lighter.
If you have an impatient driver behind you, let them overtake you. If you have a slow vehicle in front of you, overtake them when it’s safe. Slow down as soon as you see posted construction signs to avoid getting a speeding ticket or losing your commercial driver’s license. And, of course, the workers deserve your consideration to remain safe while working.
Do your part to keep everyone on the road safe and follow posted speed limits and road signs — they’re there for a reason.
4 - Regularly Check Blind Spots
All drivers should keep an eye on their blind spots and be aware of the traffic around them, but semi-truck drivers and reefer trailers need to take extra precautions.
Semi-trucks cannot see vehicles 20 feet in front of them, 30 feet behind them, and any cars or motorcycles within that radius beside them. Many drivers are unaware of this, especially new teen drivers, and they may linger in your blind spot.
Check them regularly to know what vehicles are around you if one slips into one of your four blind spots. Holiday travelers might sometimes be reckless, but that doesn’t mean you need to be, too.
5 - Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Semi Truck
Regardless of the time of year, traffic and highways are unpredictable. You never know when a road might get shut down due to an accident or bad weather.
Always keep an updated emergency kit in your semi truck with the following items:
- A warm blanket
- Non-perishable food like protein bars
- Enough bottled water for a few days
- Jumper cables
- Tire repair kit
- VanFastic aluminum patches (available from CRTS parts dept.)
- Flares or safety reflective triangles (available from CRTS parts dept.)
- A fully charged fire extinguisher (available from CRTS parts dept.)
- A BBQ-style lighter
Stay Safe This Holiday Season with CRTS
Truck drivers perform a critical role in keeping the supply chain moving — holiday travelers can’t enjoy their festive meals or memorable gifts without your contribution.
If anything compromises your safety, such as a semi-trailer in desperate need of repair or replacement, CRTS can help ensure your holiday travels are smooth sailing.
CRTS has five convenient locations spread around the South Atlantic region.
We specialize in new and used:
- Refrigerated Trailers
- Dry Vans
- Open Top Chip Trailers
- Live Floor Trailers
- Dump Trailers
- Hopper Bottom Trailers
- Flats with Conestoga Kits
- Tautliner Trailers
We stock parts from a large selection of product lines and perform regular maintenance checks to keep you safe all year round, especially during the busy holiday season.
Reach out to a CRTS team member now and discover how we can keep you and your semi-truck trailer in tip-top shape as you navigate holiday traffic this year.