The holiday season is upon us and with that comes the highest rate season of the year for owner operator companies. This is one of the greatest paying times of the year, it’s incredible the number of owner operators companies that get caught so ill-prepared for Winter season. These simple to follow winter season suggestions will assist you to take advantage of the Winter and get those high paying rates that come along with it.
Organize A Winter Pack
We must begin by getting a good winter season pack organized. Many owner operators don’t put every single item in a bag, and is not a requirement, but is good to know exactly where you keep each of the following items during an emergency. Your winter kit can go in the truck in the fall and you can take it out in the spring and it consists of the following:
- A set of insulated coveralls
- Winter season boots
- A blanket
- Mineral water
- Energy bars
- Sweet nut raisins
- A pack of condensed soup cubes
- A bag of cat litter
- A shovel
There’s numerous accidents in the wintertime where owner operators are just not prepared for spending any time in the cold. You could find yourself at a road closure and you really have to prepare for being on our your for at least 24 hours at the bare minimum. So make sure to have warm clothes, blankets and a rechargeable flashlight.
You’re also going to need a source of food, something you can survive on like energy bars and bottled water in plastic jugs that you know will survive a freeze. Candy, nuts, raisins, a package of condensed soup like bouillon cubes. We’re not going to make a steady diet of this but if it’s going to keep us alive that’s what we need. Also. Throw in a bag of kitty litter which is great for traction in case you get stuck. Kitty litter could come in handy for when you back into a loading dock and you can’t get out.
Some owner operators companies have had the misfortune of ending up stuck on the side of the road for multiple days waiting for the highway to open back up. That goes back to where our survival bag comes in handy. Make sure that you’re in a position to take care of yourself for at least 24 hours.
Learn To Install Tire Chains
Now is a good time if you’re going to run in the areas where you have to chain up to figure out how to put on a set of tire chains. Every year there’s a few accidents where drivers get hit while putting on tire chains. So this is a skill we just don’t want to learn at night on the side of a highway in snowy deplorable conditions because of the time you spend down on those drive axles. That’s what law enforcement officers refer to as the kill zone. Most owner operator trucking near death experiences happen on the side of the highway. We all know how the four wheelers drive and we’ve all seen the pictures of the trucks on Facebook, so be prepared. You gotta be prepared! So if you’ve never chained up before, get a hold of a fellow owner operator or if you’ve got a mentor, get together and practice putting on a set of chains so you do it correctly and you know how to do it in case you need it.
Possibly you’ll need to chain up just two times in Twenty Years of driving due to the fact that the majority of the times you just choose not to, regardless this is among the abilities you have to have so you can be prepared to be successful at an owner operator trucking job. If it’s bad enough that even with tire chains on you still do not feel safe, find a great safe location and wait it out. You’re the captain of your ship, keep in mind that when things go south you’re going to go down with your ship.
Know Your Limitations
We’re talking about driving under bad winter weather conditions here, but to put this into perspective, the safety team at Status Transportation is always looking out for owner operators during hurricane season. So if you run into some bad weather you gotta have guts to know your limitations. Your safety is a priority.
As young a new driver in the owner operator trucking industry don’t get caught when older drivers are on the radio and say it’s not that bad. If you really don’t feel comfortable then you know you probably shouldn’t be out there, wait for things to improve. Get on the phone, communicate with dispatch and have the courage to say I don’t feel comfortable, I don’t feel safe and I’m parking until things improve. We can’t stress this enough, communication is key.
Dispatchers at Status Transportation not only keep a finger on the pulse of the industry for the best rates in order to provide the highest paying owner operator jobs, but also to help you be safe out there.
So a highway to an experienced driver may not seem that bad but to an owner operator trucking rookie it’s just absolutely horrible. No one should get into trouble because someone coerced them into driving when they shouldn’t have been driving or driving beyond their limits. Slow down take a big deep cleansing breaths and stay off of that brake pedal when you start to feel anxious. Take a big breath, relax, ease off the throttle, and slow down. Don’t worry about other drivers trying to bully you into doing things that exceed your comfort level and your skill level.
It’s so much easier to phone a customer and to tell them it’s going to be late than it is to phone the customer and tell them the load it’s upside down and we’re not sure how much we can salvage. And the last thing anybody wants is to be in an accident so know your limits. Communication is the key. And when you make a decision to park for the weather live by your decision and stand by it because nobody can tell you how to drive other than you.
Get A Flu Shot
Owner operator trucking jobs require drivers to be prepared and watch for signs of exhaustion and sickness. The flu shot is a real good idea take the opportunity to make sure that your health is up to speed and you’re in good health. And if you wind up feeling sick or you got a cold. Be very careful what cold medication you take because the last thing you want to do is take an over-the-counter medication that makes you drowsy. It’s darker short daylight hours and you don’t want to be taking a medication that wants to put you to sleep. You have no business being on the road so get lots of sleep. Stay healthy, stay warm and be prepared.
High Visibility Coat
There’s nothing better than a high visibility coat in the wintertime. That should be your only winter jacket. Get yourself a nice safety parka jacket with lots of reflective material on it and be visible. Safety departments at owner operator companies recommend using it especially at night because you don’t want to blend into the evening.
You should avoid distractions all year round when driving but specially during the winter time. If you’re talking on the phone on your headset, or bluetooth or any kind of device and the weather starts to deteriorate, just politely let the person you’ll call them back later. You need to put your full attention to what you do. Get off the phone and pay attention to your driving, things go south things go south really quick and we have to be prepared for that.
A safe owner operator doesn’t risk having the opportunity to make that hard panic stop. So that’s why we really stress get off the phone, eyes on the road and call back when is safe to do so.
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