More than 90 million Americans will be traveling over 50 miles this holiday season, 90% of which will be traveling by car. But, for truck drivers who are perpetually traveling on the same roads, this time of year adds more stress to their workday. In addition to the bumper-to-bumper traffic, there’s also chances for dangerous winter road conditions as well as frustrated drivers all aggressively trying to get to their Christmas parties on time or to get that last minute shopping done. Plus, there’s always a chance that some drivers may be driving under the influence of too much eggnog…but that’s a whole different story.
Learning how to cope with holiday traffic is a must right now for truck drivers. Safety is always the top priority for every truck driver, but this time of year it especially is important to revisit good practices right before the New Year.
You should be making a list…and checking it twice.
Planning ahead before you start your travels this season is a necessity. Due to unforeseen traffic conditions that may arise, you definitely will have to be ready for everything. This may mean stocking up on food and beverages, scoping out rest stops on the map beforehand (so you are ready to go on bathroom breaks), and ensuring you stock up on fuel in case you get trapped in standstill traffic. You may want to even create a playlist to listen to before you hit the road to make the busy and chaotic drive more bearable. Be aware that some times of driving will be easier than others. My guess is that the roads will be clearest from 2-5 pm.
Every truck driver knows that this time of year doesn’t have just normal traffic jams; it has mega-crazy holiday traffic jams. Plus, road rage will be running rampant. Keeping your cool is the best defense against the ravage packs of Christmas caravans. Music may be your saving grace in this case–traffic jams call for good jams. Even if you’re someone who normally loves that face-paced music to keep awake and energized, you probably want to try to toning it down. Relaxing music is a good defense against rhythm-fueled road rage. Another way to help out with the pains of holiday driving is by wearing comfortable clothes. You might want to consider just wearing fuzzy sweatpants until January….
Obey the law.
Even though there’s added stress to be a trucker during this time of the year, the laws are in place for a reason and still must be obeyed. Addition hours that will be added to your driving time during the holidays will be frustrating and boring at times. Wearing your seat belt, avoiding speeding, and absolutely never texting behind the wheel is crucial. Sure, you’ll see the other schmucks on the road using dangerous driving practices. But, that’s their problem and don’t let it be yours. All you can do is be alert and work to the best of your ability to be safe.
Even though you will be obeying the law, others will not be. Drunk drivers, people distracted by their phones or GPS, and the people that are in crazy rushes cause conditions to be more dangerous than ever right now. It’s crucial to be on your toes. Make sure you are well-rested enough before driving so you can be awake enough to pay full attention to everything going on.
Consider Different Routes.
Be smart by using technology to help steer clear of accidents, construction zones, and general traffic jams that will come up during this time of the year. Luckily, there’s mobile apps available to keep you alerted of congested areas and can even reroute you.
Try to be as jolly as Saint Nick.
Holiday traffic is inevitable. How you behave during these stressful times, however, is completely up to you. Being a Grinch won’t make the line of traffic any shorter. In fact, the more road raging you become, the higher the likelihood of you getting into an accident. Keep good vibes and you’ll get over it–just remember the holidays will be over soon!