Inspecting your truck on the road might catch a defect that emerges, such as a burned out light. Plus, if driving in snow, the accumulation can freeze and obscure lights and reflective tape. Use fuel stops to clean your windshield, headlights and mirrors. Make sure nothing is blocking your radiator.
Check your windshield and mirrors for chips or cracks. “It may not seem like a big deal, but if you head into a cold area or you hit a pothole, that chip may spider into something bigger,” says Doug Moat of Universal Am-Can. If it happens, it could lead to an out-of-service violation and affect your safety rating.
Carry replacement bulbs with you. Make sure you have windshield wiper fluid and rubbing alcohol to clean wiper blades.
Staying alert at night
When you know you’re going to drive at night, prepare yourself physically. Here are some tips to stay alert.
• Get enough sleep to feel refreshed. Fatigue can be a greater problem at night. If you feel drowsy, pull off the road and take a brief nap or walk around your rig to get the blood flowing.
• Cut back on smoking Nicotine and carbon monoxide from smoking can reduce night vision. When you move from darkness to a brightly lit area and back to darkness again, it can take as long as 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt and regain night vision, the National Safety Commission says.
• Eat lighter meals with fruits and vegetables and avoid high-fat foods that can leave you sluggish and sleepy. Try crunchy snack foods such as nuts, carrots, celery or apples to keep you going.
• Get your eyes checked at least once a year. Your eyesight is your most important tool as a trucker, says Doug Moat of Universal Am-Can.