The holiday season is here, and it is one of the busiest times of year for truck drivers. With this time of year being so busy, many truck drivers will be working long hours this December to accommodate all the extra shipping of products. New or inexperienced truck drivers may have to take on new roles and be on the road to help with the surplus of products that need to be shipped at this time.
So in December it is statistically proven that you will see more traffic on your highways as well as more inexperienced truck drivers at this time. With increased traffic and less experienced drivers on the road at this time, it can be a stressful time for any shipping company to make sure all orders are arrive to their destination without any problems occurring. This isn’t the only issue either. With the weather getting colder, driving conditions will be increasingly worse as snow and ice can influence any trucking route. With all these factors influencing the trucking industry during the holidays, it’s best that you are prepared as best as possible for this upcoming season.
How can you prepare?
For any local freight carriers it is important to prep your driver’s for the holiday season as much as possible. This is especially critical for new or inexperienced drivers.
The first tip that we have for LTL trucking companies is to not overwork your employees. This may be common knowledge to anyone that has been involved in commercial driving, but is still a big concern when ensuring the safety of your drivers and shipped goods. Make sure that each of your trucking employees is getting a significant amount of sleep before embarking on a long days work.
During the holiday season, many truck drivers are faced with delivery deadlines that seem nearly impossible to achieve. This puts a great deal of pressure on your drivers and can cause them to take on more late night shifts or extra trucking routes overnight. With that being known it is important to keep in mind that there is a legal amount of rest that drivers must take during a given period of time on the road. Drivers on the road should take full advantage of their down time to make sure they get a significant amount of rest in between deliveries.
It is best if your company encourages all of your drivers to establish an evening routine where they can comfortably rest and adjust to sleeping schedule that allows them to be on the road at the desired time of shipping. If this isn’t working out, at least make sure that all your drivers have enough sleep to complete their jobs safely during the hectic season.
Nothing can be quite as dangerous as lack of preparation. Make sure that all of your drivers are prepared and educated on the plan that you are providing at this time. Heading into months where weather can be treacherous, and resources can be slim due to conditions or the holiday season, this could be the most important tip of all.
To prepare for anything that may come a driver’s way, a routine inspection of their rig and equipment should be provided on a monthly basis. This is extra important during this time of year. The last thing that you want is a mechanical issue for one of your trucks when a driver is in the middle of a long route. Should you find anything that may be a problem with the truck, a driver is highly encouraged to get service before the holidays. During this time of year, it is much safer and more responsible to be prepared for any problems that may arise when you are on the road. This can prevent any encounter with roadside help that can cause major delay in delivery.
Eliminating any confusion one of your drivers may have is also a good habit to practice. Having drivers study their designated routes before the sent off on a delivery can help drivers from all sorts of problems when on the road. It’s most likely not convenient to physically drive the routes before the time of actual delivery. But it is a good idea to have your drivers conduct some prior research and see what kind of roads and weather they may potentially be facing. Also any friends or associates that may have insight on a particular trucking route can be very helpful when navigating unfamiliar roads.
While projected weather forecasts may not be entirely accurate, it may still provide a driver with some sort of outlook on how driving conditions may be for the trucking route. For example, if your driver is prepared for any sleet, snow or ice, they would be able to modify their trip and their timing to best suit their loads or to accommodate best for safety and effectiveness.
One of the most important parts of being prepared is the communication between employer and driver. If the driver feels they are not experienced enough to handle certain routs or whether they are most likely not ready for that route at that time. No matter the distance, weather, or other conditions, if a driver feels them or unfit to drive, that aspect should be taken into consideration first and foremost.
With the winter and the holiday season in full swing increased traffic on the road is inevitable. This includes both commercial vehicles and non-commercial automobiles. With most people having the mindset of getting to their destination as quickly as possible, both traffic and the poor driving habits of others can become a major issue on the roads as well. So here is a tip that you learn in drivers education 101, defensive driving. Defensive driving doesn’t always mean drive slower either. Driving during this time of year calls for increased awareness, meaning you should be monitoring the driving patterns of others while monitoring your own.
So now that you’ve read how to prepare for this holiday season, it’s time to practice these good techniques and handle this winter trucking schedule with ease.