5 Winter Tips for Professional CDL Drivers

As Highway Transport professional tanker truck drivers know…this is the time of year when tanker drivers do everything in their power to prevent accidents. “Winter driving conditions will increase your stress level and just wear you out – don’t be afraid to call it a day.” advises Rick Lusby, Vice President of Safety and Quality.

Snow Scenes on Tanker Truck Yard

Snow on Tanker Trailer
Snow on tanker trailer in Joliet, Illinois. photo by Eric Ely

Before you start driving any vehicle during the winter, consider the following:

  1. Prepare Relentlessly – Highway Transport drivers are vigilant about conducting pre-trip inspections; but all drivers should keep their vehicle in top operating condition all year round for safety and fuel economy. Conduct a careful pre-trip inspection to confirm that your tractor-trailer is in good operating condition. Also:
    -Be aware of changing weather conditions and reduce your speed.
    -Never drive faster than you can see to react to sudden hazards, such as ice, dense fog or drifting snow.
    -Use lights during times of reduced visibility
    -Increase following distance
    -Pull off the road to a safe location if conditions make the road impassable
    -Use 4-way flashers where appropriate
    -Avoid braking excessively on slippery roads
    -Contact your driver manager.
    According to company policy, if weather conditions interfere with scheduling, alternate plans may be considered. It is especially important to prepare for winter driving.

    Access individual state Department of Transportation Websites

They have road conditions posted and many have access to cameras. The following is a list of state DOT sites where Highway Transport has service center locations:

  1. Watch Your Speed – Too much speed causes accidents.

  2. Over Confidence – You are a highly trained professional tank truck driver. Everyone in the trucking industry realizes that you are one of the most highly skilled drivers on the road. HOWEVER, don’t let over confidence catch you off guard. Being alert to dangers is the first step in being safe.
  3. Following Distance – It could take three to twelve times longer to stop your unit under winter conditions. Increase your following distances and never use cruise control when you’re on wet or snowy roads.
  4. Stress is Your Enemy – Company Vice Chairman Greg Watkins emphasizes to all drivers, “Stress is your enemy. You can feel it happening when stress is creeping into your day. You think you can handle it yourself. Highway Transport says otherwise.” Anytime you have too much stress, you risk losing control of your vehicle. Heed Greg’s advice to “take a moment and slow down your mind. Take steps to reduce your stress”  He continues, “Highway Transport drivers have a reputation for exceptional service and on-time deliveries. But I’d much rather call a customer and explain to them that a driver is running a little late than have to explain that there has been an accident.”
Snow on the Highway Transport Croydon trucking yard
Snow on the Highway Transport Croydon trucking yard


snow at Highway Transport Croydon
another snowy scene from the Highway Transport Croydon, Pennsylvania tanker trucking yard.

More in-depth Tanker Truck Driving Advice:

Running Empty or Bobtailing:
Wheels may lock up more easily during braking. This could lead to jackknife.

Ask Yourself…
-Does my pre-trip inspection cover those items I will rely on if the weather gets bad?
-Do I use a reasonable amount of caution in adverse weather?
-Do I realize how my unsafe actions may affect others?
-Have I considered how much an accident could cost my company?
-Am I aware of downtime and loss of income that will happen if I am involved in an accident?
-In what ways would an accident affect my family, my coworkers, and me?
-How much/little time does it take to slow down and use extra caution?

Experience Teaches Us…
Poor judgement, unpreparedness, and impatience contribute to weather-related accidents.  Taking extra time and care during bad weather can save a lot of frustration, pain, and costly downtime.

Drivers who have been involved in accidents during bad weather regret not taking the few extra steps necessary to avoid an accident.

tanker truck roadside in the snow

Are you an experienced professional CDL tanker driver?…
Consider driving for Highway Transport Chemical and visiting Drive4Highway.com.  Professional tanker drivers are encouraged to discover more possibilities surrounding our newest location. We’re excited to be expanding to Geismar, Louisiana.

Drive4Highway tanker truck in snow



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