The holidays may be the most challenging time of year for professional truck drivers. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day bring a tremendous influx of drivers to the nation’s highways. Add this to stress-inducing weather conditions and a higher potential for traffic mishaps and suddenly the holidays seem a lot less happy.
Consider the following:
- AAA estimates that over 93 million drivers will make trips of 50 miles or more from their homes during the holiday season, an increase of 54 percent over the rest of the year.
- The Department of Transportation predicts that the significant drop in gas prices and an improving economy will result in an estimated 91 percent of all Americans who travel over the holidays to do so by car.
As Con-way Truckload drivers, you are already well versed in the basic rules of road safety. But the holiday season requires some extra rules and reminders:
- Before setting out, make sure a mechanic has checked your vehicle and that everything is operating properly.
- Be sure to check road conditions and weather forecasts along your route before you leave.
- Stay alert. Keep an eye out for driving that is erratic and watch for swerving and sudden lane changes.
- Get a good night’s sleep and stay rested along the way by taking breaks as needed.
- Make sure your truck is well supplied in case of an emergency. These supplies include water, non-perishable food, flashlight and extra batteries, warm clothing and a blanket, cell phone and charger. Don’t forget jumper cables, a fire extinguisher, flares and a first aid kit.
- Pay attention for changes in the weather while on the road and adjust your driving accordingly. If driving in snow or ice is unavoidable, try to travel during daylight hours. Take the time to completely remove ice and snow from your vehicle that could hinder visibility.
Finally, patience is a virtue. All drivers are susceptible to irritating holiday traffic. It’s easy to become impatient, whether you’re traveling across the country or just across town. Drive defensively, not aggressively. Relax, and accept that weather conditions, increased volume of traffic and contentious drivers may lead to longer travel times. Remaining calm will help you to avoid making impulsive and potentially dangerous decisions.
It’s up to us, the professionals, to remain on high alert and do everything we can to ensure a safe and happy holiday season for all who share the road. Happy Holidays!