It's already snowing in the Rockies and the Sierras, and it's only October! Winter is approaching quickly and early! With the changing seasons, it's time to switch from paid tourist mode to winter survivalist mode. There's not much time, so you better get a move on!

The first thing you need to do in order to get prepared is to make sure you have a winter weather survival kit. This survival kit should include:

  • Snacks and bottled water
  • Warm clothing like a winter hat, waterproof boots and waterproof gloves
  • Essentials like an extra blanket, a flashlight with extra batteries, a snow scraper, additional fuel filters with fuel filter wrenches, fuel conditioner additives and air brake anti-freeze
  • The basics - tools like screwdrivers and a hammer
  • Boston Trucker Tip: I also carry some cat litter to throw down under my tires for emergency traction control when I'm stuck on ice

When reflecting on past winter driving experiences, the best winter driving tip I ever got was from my dad. He said, "don't let anyone tell you how to drive your truck!" Meaning, drive at a speed that you're comfortable with and don't let anyone pressure you to drive faster. My advice to becoming comfortable in winter conditions would be a good pre-trip, as it can save you from being stuck on the side of the road.

While driving in winter conditions, it is crucial to stay steady on the throttle pedal and maintain a safe following distance. Road conditions can change in a split second, so stay aware of the weather you're heading towards. It is vital to keep an eye on the water droplets that gather on your mirror brackets; when they start to freeze, so is the road. Keep your ears on the CB radio and your eyes looking far ahead. When heading into white-out conditions, turn the stereo down, your CB up, and your windows cracked open. You want to listen ahead for vehicles crashing to avoid being involved in a pile-up situation. Truck driving in the winter is deadly severe; no load is worth your life, so if you're not comfortable, stay parked and wait for conditions to improve.

I hope you have a safe and successful winter driving season.

Be safe out there!

Mike Gaffin aka the Boston Trucker