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Winter Driving Tips for
Truck Drivers:
Essential Supplies, Safety, and Driving Techniques

Winter driving can be particularly challenging for truck drivers. With longer stopping distances, reduced traction, and unpredictable weather conditions, ensuring your trucking safety is paramount.

Here are essential winter driving safety tips, covering supplies, safety measures, and safe driving techniques.

Essential Supplies for Truck Drivers During Winter

Before hitting the road, stock your truck with crucial supplies to prepare for any situation. These include:

winter clothing

Winter Gear

These winter gear items are essential for truck drivers’ safety, comfort, and efficiency during winter operations. They equip them to handle harsh weather conditions, unexpected situations, and ensure safe and successful deliveries.

Warm clothes

  • Long johns and base layers: These help wick away sweat and keep the body warm in cold temperatures.

  • Insulated jacket and pants: Choose waterproof and windproof materials for maximum protection.

  • Hat, gloves, and scarf: These keep your head, hands, and neck warm, preventing heat loss and regulate body temperatures.


Heavy winter boots with good treads​

  • Warmth: They provide essential insulation for feet in cold temperatures, preventing frostbite and discomfort.

  • Traction: Deep treads grip icy and snowy surfaces, preventing slips and falls during loading/unloading and roadside emergencies.

  • Durability: They withstand harsh winter conditions and rugged terrain, ensuring performance and protection.

Emergency blankets​

  • Warmth: They provide immediate warmth in case of breakdowns or emergencies in freezing temperatures, preventing hypothermia.

  • Compactness: They are lightweight and pack easily, maximizing storage space in the truck.

  • Multifunctionality: They can be used as insulation for injured limbs, shelter from wind, or a signal for help.

Ice scraper and snow brush

  • Visibility: They ensure clear vision through the windshield and windows, crucial for safe driving in snowy conditions.

  • Safety: They prevent ice and snow build-up, which can obstruct headlights and taillights, reducing visibility for other drivers.

  • Preventing damage: They remove ice and snow before starting the engine, protecting wipers and windshield from potential damage.

Snow shovel

  • Digging out: It allows them to clear snow from around their truck, tires, and cab doors, ensuring safe entry and exit.

  • Creating traction: It helps create a pathway for the truck to move in deep snow and avoid getting stuck.

  • Clearing access: It allows them to clear snow from loading docks, ramps, and other areas needed for delivery.

shovel plowing through the snow
winter tires for trucks

Road Safety Gear

These road safety gear items are crucial for both new and experienced truck drivers to navigate winter roads safely and handle unexpected situations. They provide the means to overcome challenges, ensure safety, and receive assistance when needed.


Tire chains

  • Traction: They provide the necessary grip on snowy and icy roads, preventing the truck from sliding and losing control.

  • Safety: They significantly reduce stopping distances, preventing accidents and minimizing the risk of collisions.

  • Compliance: They are mandatory in many areas during winter, ensuring adherence to regulations and avoiding fines.

Chains for securing tires

  • Safety: They ensure tire chains stay firmly in place while driving, preventing them from coming loose and causing damage or accidents.

  • Performance: They maintain the effectiveness of tire chains, optimizing traction and reducing the risk of getting stuck.

  • Convenience: They allow quick and easy installation and removal of tire chains, maximizing efficiency during winter driving.

Traction mats, kitty litter, or sand/salt mix for getting stuck

  • Recovery: They help the truck regain traction when stuck in snow or ice, allowing it to move forward without assistance.

  • Safety: They provide a temporary solution to get out of difficult situations, preventing the need for towing or further delays.

  • Versatility: They can be used on various types of terrain, including snow, ice, mud, and sand.

Emergency flares

  • Alerting: They signal for help in case of accidents or emergencies, alerting other drivers and first responders to the location.

  • Safety: They warn other drivers of potential hazards on the road, preventing accidents and ensuring safe passage.

  • Visibility: They are highly visible even in bad weather conditions, maximizing the chance of being seen and receiving assistance.

Jumper cables and a flashlight

  • Emergency assistance: They enable the truck to be jump-started in case of a battery failure, preventing delays and ensuring continued operation.

  • Visibility: The flashlight provides light for roadside repairs, tire changes, or other emergencies after dark.

  • Safety: They help remain visible to other drivers in case of breakdowns or nighttime emergencies.

mechanic tools
additional trucking supplies for winter

Additional Supplies

These additional supplies offer a crucial safety net for truck drivers in winter. They ensure basic needs are met, provide tools for handling minor issues, and maintain communication and navigation capabilities even in challenging situations.

By being prepared with these essentials, professional truck drivers can navigate winter roads with confidence and avoid weather related vehicle crashes.

Non-perishable food and bottled water

  • Sustainability: They provide sustenance in case of unexpected delays or breakdowns, preventing hunger and dehydration.

  • Emergency preparedness: They ensure access to essential resources in case of extreme weather events or natural disasters.

  • Peace of mind: They provide a sense of security and preparedness, allowing for focused driving and efficient operation.

First-aid kit

  • Emergency kit: It provides the necessary supplies to treat minor injuries or illnesses, preventing complications and ensuring prompt first aid.

  • Peace of mind: It offers a sense of security and preparedness, knowing they can handle unexpected medical situations.

  • Compliance: In some jurisdictions, carrying a first-aid kit is mandatory for commercial vehicles.

Paper maps and a compass

  • Backup navigation: They offer alternative navigation methods in case of GPS failure or lost signal.

  • Planning and reference: They allow for route planning and verification, promoting situational awareness and confidence.

  • Emergency preparedness: They provide a reliable way to navigate in areas without cell phone service or other technological aids.

phone charging on a power bank

Cell phone charger with backup power source

  • Communication: It ensures uninterrupted communication with dispatch, emergency services, and loved ones in case of emergencies.

  • Navigation: It allows continued use of GPS devices and navigation apps for safe and efficient route planning.

  • Information access: It provides access to real-time weather updates, road condition reports, and other vital information.

trucker inspecting his wheels

Safety Tips for Driving Your Truck During the Winter

Prepare your truck: Before each trip, ensure your truck is winter-ready. Double check tire pressure, antifreeze levels, and wiper blades. Replace worn-out parts and top off windshield washer fluid and other essential fluids.

Plan your route: Choose major highways with dedicated snow removal crews. Check weather forecasts and road conditions beforehand.

Leave early: Allow extra time for your journey due to slower travel speeds and potential delays.

Slow down: Reduce your speed significantly, especially in snowy or icy conditions.

Increase following distance: Allow ample space between your truck and the vehicle ahead to accommodate for longer stopping distances.

Avoid sudden maneuvers: Brake and accelerate gently to maintain traction and avoid skids. Maintain a consistent speed.

Use low gears: When driving uphill in snow, use low gears for better traction.

Be aware of black ice: Black ice can be invisible and very slippery. Be extra cautious on bridges and shaded areas.

Use your headlights: Turn on your headlights even during the day. Both new and experienced truckers should exercise extra caution at low visibility.

Take breaks: Fatigue can impair judgment and common sense during winter driving. Take regular breaks at a truck stop to rest and stay alert.

winter truck driving tips for truck drivers

How to Drive Your Truck Safely in Winter

truck driver

Here are some specific winter driving tips for truck drivers:

Engine braking: Use engine braking to slow down by downshifting gears. This helps maintain control of your speed and reduce wear on your brakes.

Steering: Make smooth steering adjustments to avoid oversteering and losing control.

Braking: Apply brakes gently and progressively, especially on slippery surfaces. Avoid slamming on the brakes, which can cause skids. Consider also that during winter, the normal stopping distance is different compared to other seasons.

Turning: Slow down significantly before turning and take wider turns to avoid sliding.

Be aware of road signs: Pay close attention to warnings about black ice, steep hills, and other potential hazards, especially in poor visibility.

Stay alert and focused: Avoid distractions and concentrate on the road conditions. Maintain a considerable amount of stopping distance.

Additional Tips for Truck Driving in Winter Conditions

Stay informed: Check weather updates regularly and adjust your driving plans accordingly.

Communicate with other drivers: Use your radio or turn signals to communicate your intentions clearly.

If you get stuck: Stay calm and assess the situation. Use your emergency supplies and contact emergency services if needed.

By following these tips and driving with caution, you can help ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road during winter.

Remember, winter driving can be unpredictable. Always prioritize safety over deadlines and adjust your driving style accordingly. For a peace of mind, consider getting a commercial truck insurance. Request a truck insurance quote from our TRS-certified agents for a confidence-inspiring ride against the unpredictable.