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Truck Topics

Brrrrrrrrrrr! It's Cold Outside!

By Sandy Long
Posted Jan 2nd 2013 4:01AM

blowing-snow-234412815299725Liy_2.jpgMany parts of the country are in full winter weather now, though so far mainly out west.   Wintertime brings its own challenges to truckers besides just having to drive on snow-covered roads.   Equipment failures, frozen brakes and fuel lines, roads closing and being stuck somewhere long enough that food runs low are just a few of the things truckers routinely face during winter.   Every trucker that runs above I-10 should carry a winter kit.

Winter kits for the truck should contain:

·          A collapsible or regular snow shovel

·          Ice scraper (long handled preferred, or one of each)

·          Spray de-icer

·          Windshield washer fluid that has de-icer in it

·          Kitty litter or a bag of sand to use if stuck on ice

·          A bottle of brake line de-icer or rubbing alcohol

·          A hammer (be careful beating on metal of any kind in the extreme cold, metal can become brittle in deep, below zero temperatures and break)

·          Tire chains (if you run in areas that have chain laws.   Check the states to see how many and what type)

·          Wheel chocks or one foot sections of 4x4 (at least two to be used when parked on level ground instead of setting brakes)

·          Fuel treatment/additives

·          A radio that is able to get weather reports either locally or regionally

·          A list of road condition report numbers for each state you run in

Winter kits for the driver(s) should contain:

·          Clothing that can be layered

·          Heavy winter gloves

·          Extra heavy socks

·          Stocking or other type of cold weather head covering

·          Scarf or bandana that can be tied across nose and mouth

·          Dark glasses to combat snow glare

·          Coveralls or insulated/thermal underwear (pantyhose provides some good insulation, yes, I know some men who wear them in the wintertime)

·          Water proof winter boots with good tread pattern

·          Extra blankets or low temperature sleeping bags (these can be stored under the mattress)

·          Food-high protein foods such as canned meats or fish, peanut butter, canned or processed cheese that does not need refrigerated.   Canned fruit, canned salads such as three bean, fruit juices, crackers, pretzels, or other snacks you like that have shelf life.   They also make those heater meals that heat themselves, they are good to have on the truck for emergencies

·          Water, at least a gallon per person

·          Extra batteries

·          Emergency candles and a large tin can (If you punch holes around the bottom edge of the can and place a lit emergency candle inside, pull the sleeper curtains closed, it will help keep the bunk area warm enough so you do not freeze if the truck quits running.   ALWAYS keep a window on the lee side of the wind cracked if using this!)

·          Some way of taking care of bodily functions in the truck

·          Extra prescription medications if you take them (at least a week’s extra supply)

·          Chap Stick or other lip balm for dry lips

·          A good hand cream for chapped or cold weather cracks in skin

·          Something to stave off boredom-books, puzzles, puzzle books, playing cards, hobby supplies

·          Extra food, treats and water if you have pets

1-1229281026TsmM.jpgWith expedite loads needing many exactly on-time deliveries, an expediter, or any driver, may be tempted to continue on when it is unsafe to do so.   Regulations support the driver in these times:

§392.14 Hazardous conditions; extreme caution.  Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction.  Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist.  If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated.  Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.   [33 FR 19732, Dec. 25, 1968, as amended at 60 FR 38747, July 28, 1995].

There is not a customer in the world that wants their load to end up in the ditch or down a mountain and besides, if it is unsafe to go on, no load is worth your life; there are no medals given out in trucking.



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