Transitioning From Summer Driving To The Fall Haul

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(Last Updated On: November 24, 2017)

As summer sets behind us and autumn begins to show its true colors (both literally and figuratively) there are more potential hazards on the road than the season prior.

Temperatures drop, days become shorter and drivers in all lanes must become more aware of the pitfalls that may be lurking while on the job. While there are a multitude of factors that come into play with driving into the months ahead, there are some basic and routine reminders that a driver can keep in mind in order to stay alert.

1. Dress for the Occasion

While this may seem like an obvious reminder, it is ultimately an important one, especially for those making the long haul in otherwise inclement weather. Bringing along multiple layers and clothing that can withstand varying levels of degrees is not only crucial to one’s condition while sleeping, but also in maintaining a driver’s comfort while on the job. A driver cannot be expected to perform well or concentrate properly if they are not adjusted adequately to the in-cab temperature. Packing clothes for any potential weather or discomfort is key to safety.

2. Adjust Sleeping Schedules With Daylight Savings

Though not officially taking place until November, many workers in different industries across the nation find that their natural sleep rhythms may be thrown off by the time change. Truckers are especially susceptible to this, often working non-traditional shifts or otherwise handling a non-traditional sleep schedule. Though drivers must abide by the reset rule in taking mandatory rests for 34 hours before facing another batch of work, the external factor of adjusting an established sleep schedule becomes an entirely different story for some drivers. What was once a regular day of driving for some may now become an incredibly difficult shift. Drivers can prepare for the oncoming change in hours by establishing a nighttime routine and slowly working towards adjusting their sleep schedule as needed.

3. Be Aware of Traffic

With the ushering in of fall comes the impending commercial Christmas season. As the weeks close in nearer to The Holiday Season, more commercial trucks, as well as civilian automobiles are expected to the flood the roads. Many fleets require their drivers to be in full-force when nearing Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all other assorted shopping days in between. Considering that many drivers are facing hectic schedules at this time, others on the road must be alert as to those who may be speeding to make a deadline or pushing themselves to get home for that special holiday.

4. Winter Is Coming – Prepare Now

It’s the Boy Scout motto – “Always Be Prepared.” For commercial drivers, this is doubly true, especially in regards to checking one’s equipment and ensuring that it is up to snuff. One of the last things a driver wishes for is to be stuck on the side of the road or detained by an official due to insufficient equipment. Compound that scenario with the situation of waiting for a part or a mechanic and a driver can find themselves wildly behind schedule. More than anything, this tip circles back to safety. Drivers should not make the trek if their vehicles could be hazardous to themselves and others on the road.

5. Know Your Routes – Plan Ahead

The last tip is obvious and perhaps simplistic, but it ultimately comes down to how well the communication factor is established within one’s company. If one knows their routes, plans for the weather ahead, has an amicable relationship with their manager/dispatcher then it is likely they can formulate a cohesive mode of action in accordance to all of these factors. For those new to the industry or for those establishing a new position with a company, inquire in advance what the Fall/Winter season might typically look like for a driver so that you may adequately plan for a conscientious and progressive experience behind the wheel.

Guest blogger Jake Tully is a writer and blogger for many topics, including the transportation industry, entertainment, and culture, among others. Jake is based in Los Angeles and enjoys spending his free time attending concerts, hiking, and exploring California. Read more of Jake’s work at his profile.

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10 Thoughts to “Transitioning From Summer Driving To The Fall Haul”

  1. luke

    I once heard a truck driver mention that during winter, he’d sleep at the back of his truck because he was almost never home and at times, the engine would be running overnight. Reading this, I now clearly understand why preparation is important.

    1. Tully


      It’s true, home time and scheduling being on/off routes can be incredibly tricky for some drivers. Especially during the Christmas season when routes can require a driver to be out and about, there may be very little clarity in what times they should prepare to be home.

      1. luke

        Truck driving has never been easy and I now understand why truckers have to keep a lot of things in mind and remain vigilant at all times. Preparation is always important and it makes everything easier in the long run.

        1. Tully

          Luke, I could not agree more. I find that most of my pieces or advice involve me stressing the importance of preparation in driving more than anything. I think that in this industry all along the chain of logistics (and for that matter, many others) the implementation of preparation can do nothing but benefit us.

  2. lesley

    Indeed, preparation is key and so a truck driver needs to always ensure everything is in place. These may be issues a trucker will initially struggle to grasp but I guess it gets better over time.

    1. Tully


      You are absoloutely correct. I was hoping with this piece – and any forthcoming pieces – to give some indsutry insight to new/inexperienced drivers.

  3. djanana

    The obvious things are normally hard to grasp for most people and what would worry me most is finding myself in the kind of weather that I wasn’t prepared for. Truck driving actually requires meticulous planning and organization.

    1. Tully


      Agreed. There’s a great deal of preparation even when one’s routes are laid out for them. In my opinion the drving profession is quite honestly a 50/50 balance between the actual driving itself and preparing to do so. I think it’s incredibly important to instill this within drivers.

  4. Dennis

    You’d be surprised how many people don’t think about those “obvious” things! Reminders like this are always good to have. One day you can be in 70 degree weather, the next in 0 degree weather. As stated in the post, you really need clothes for any situation in the winter time.

  5. lesley

    This is very important information especially for someone who has been behind the wheel before. My cousin is a truck driver and he struggles with sleep rhythms at times but fortunately he has found a way to adjust his sleep patterns especially when heading to the hectic months of the year.

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