shutterstock_220243993.jpg

Cold weather and lack of sun can be a dreary time for anyone, but as an owner-operator, the troubles that occur during this time of year can affect more than just your mood. 

Storms can feel like they come one right after the other, and they only add to the already long list of weather related issues. Higher truck idling times and high winds can lower MPG, and poor road conditions can not only increase risk of an accident, but also the likelihood that you won’t get enough miles each month.

So what can you do to help counteract these issues? Here are our eight tips to keep you ahead of winter storms: 

1. Communicate with your Driver Manager

Discuss concerns with them from the start. Work as a team to create a strategy that works best for you to obtain more miles to make up for a deficit.

2. Always be prepared

Plan each trip to avoid winter storms if possible by checking forecasts and potential construction areas along your route. Chart out fuel, meal stop locations, and allow extra time for traffic delays. Click here for mobile apps available for download from The Weather Channel.

3. Fill up on fuel

Fuel can thicken or gel in extreme cold temperatures, so remember that a full tank is less likely to have problems. You can limit (and sometimes eliminate) the amount of additives you have to use if you decide to purchase fuel farther North. Consult your engine manufacturer for additive guidelines.

4. Play it smart and stop

If your gut is telling you to stop, pull over and stop. It’s better to play it safe than gamble with your safety. One carrier claimed that they would trade lower operations (and a little less revenue) for not having weather-related accidents anytime.

5. Reduce your idling costs

Purchase an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to provide electricity and heat. Save your receipt to claim the APU expense on your tax return. Click here for a full list of Idle Reduction Equipment from the U.S. Department of Energy, and click here for tips on how to save fuel.

6. Check your cargo

Icy roads and goods shifting in the trailer are not a good combination. If possible, monitor the shipper’s loading procedures to ensure weight has been evenly distributed within the trailer.

7. Perform a thorough pre- AND post-trip inspection

Be diligent with inspecting everything visually and hands-on. Listen carefully for air leaks, because small leaks can become big leaks in extreme cold. Post-trip inspections can reveal problems that might be fixed while in the sleeper berth or off-duty.

8. Set up emergency funds

Having a reserve savings account set aside just for these circumstances will take a lot of worry off your shoulders. Although bad weather can’t be controlled, you can take the right steps to prepare yourself before it hits where it hurts the most. 

Above all, remember that your safety and the safety of others should be at the utmost importance. Indicators are showing thst we will have a fairly mild winter, but it's important to always be prepared.

SHARE THIS:

Related information

Top 5 Weather Apps for Truckers

October 2015. There are a number of smartphone weather apps to choose from, but which is the best for you? Check out our list of the top 5 weather apps that we think are most helpful for truckers.

Read full story

Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax

The Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax has several names including Federal Highway Use Tax, FHUT, 2290, or even “Road Taxes”. This is an important tax for owner-operators to be aware of, and to be prepared to address every year.

Read full story

The Top 20 Habits of Successful Owner-Operators

The most successful owner-operator truck drivers in the industry didn't get where they are because of sheer luck. These drivers are successful because of what they do each and every day. To improve your trucking business, start practicing these habits today!

Read full story

KEEP YOUR BUSINESS BETWEEN THE LINES WITH USEFUL INFORMATION SENT RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.

Sign Me Up