As the winter month grow closer, Troy and Connor cover some basic winter driving tips that all truckers can consider when hauling in colder climates. Sharing their expert insight is Jim Ward and Sean Schnipper of Transervice Logistics. Other topics include the latest on the Tesla Semi.
This episode also features an original Christmas song entitled “Christmas in the Cab” available for the holidays!
Winter Driving Tips – Big Rig Banter Ep. 10 – Full Transcript
Music – Whether you’re hitting the road or kicking back in the cab, it’s time to take a load off with Big Rig Banter, powered by AllTruckJobs.com, your source for finding the trucking jobs drivers really want. Get ready to shift into gear and let the conversations roll.
Connor: Hello, and welcome! This is the 10th episode of Big Rig Banter, and I’m your co-host, Connor Smith.
Troy: And I’m your co-host, Troy Diffenderfer, and today we’re going to tackle winter driving safety. We’re going to talk about some tips and tricks, and we’re even gonna hear from Jim Ward, safety director over at Transervice, so stay tuned for that.
Connor: But first, let’s hear about some recent news in the trucking world.
Troy: Alright, folks, we only have one news topic for today, but it’s a good one. The wait is finally over. After months of teasing investors and fans, that his company’s first electric semi will blow your mind. According to CEO Elon Musk, he finally took off the wraps of the truck and actually, he rolled into the unveiling in Hawthorne, California, sitting in the cab of a new Tesla Semi. With a slick design that will allow truckers to stand in the cab, Musk and his team believe that the electric semi will give drivers a far better experience, and increase safety and significantly reduce the cost but, Connor, I know you dug into some of the more specific details of the truck. What do you have for us?
Connor: That’s right! So as you mentioned, Elon Musk did roll up in the truck. They are real, he’s actually driving one, and they’re going into production in 2019, but like you mentioned also, drivers are going to be able to stand up in the cab because it doesn’t have a giant diesel motor anymore. It’s all electric. And one of the most interesting features, actually, is that the steering wheel is centered. So, instead of being on the left side in the U.S. and other places or the right in Europe, it’s directly in the middle with these nice heads-up displays on either side. And these trucks are going to be able to connect directly into a fleet management system, allowing drivers and companies to route and remotely monitor their Tesla trucks. Additionally, you’ll be able to tether multiple trucks together eventually, when you get a whole fleet of these things going, so that’s pretty cool. Next, you have the autopilot feature, which is the second generation of Tesla’s semi-autonomous system. It’s gonna feature automatic braking, lane changing, and lane departure warnings, so if a driver is veering off into the lane by accident, it’ll prompt you and tell you to correct your driving. An interesting feature as well is the armored glass on the windshield. There’s been recent types of terror attacks and things where people are actually using trucks as weapons, and to have the armored glass on there might be a nice feature for that. I can also see it kind of working against if someone hijacks one of these things and it’s bulletproof but then again, that’s a different conversation entirely. So, I digress. The main selling point of these trucks is that they can travel 500 miles on a single charge. It can haul 80,000 pounds in a single go and, like I mentioned, without the large diesel engine, drivers actually sit further forward in the cab, so it’s a lot more spacious and drivers can actually stand up in it. So that kind of makes me think maybe we’ll have some interesting Troy Thunder workouts in the Tesla cab. Eventually we can do maybe some pull-ups or something now?
Troy: That would be cool. I think I’ll be able to get ahold of him and see if he’d be interested in that.
Connor: Yeah, just tweet him or whatever. But, the first edition of these trucks will not include a sleeper compartment, so that’s just something to be aware of if you’re thinking about investing in these. But overall, they’re projected to be cheaper than traditional trucks actually. So, how they’re going to pull that off is really yet to be seen, but with 4,000 Americans dying in truck-related collisions every year, the goal obviously of these trucks is to increase safety with a lot of the autopilot features and things like that, so we’ll just have to see how they play out, but it’s looking pretty cool.
Troy: Yeah, and they really did “wow” the investors. We’ve talked about on our previous podcast all on automated trucking, about some of the other players, whether it’s Nikola, or Mack Truck, or Uber kind of throwing their hat in the ring, but Tesla seemed to really “wow” the critics and has definitely put themselves as the forerunner when it comes to the automated truck race.
Connor: As to be expected, yeah. Somebody had to do it first, and they finally got there.
Troy: For sure.
Connor: We’ll keep covering this as more things develop and as we learn more about this truck. So yeah, again, if you want to go back and check out our episode before this one, it’s all about autonomous trucking. We talk about the different levels of autonomy, how this is going to affect the industry, and what you can expect with these self-driving trucks and other technologies in that same vein. But now, onto our main topic for today, it’s winter driving tips. So as you know, it’s December, and we’re gearing up for the usual winter here on the East coast, but it takes a lot of preparation, it takes a lot of skill building over time if you’re a driver or if you’re new to the industry. We just thought we’d break into providing some information for drivers during the winter season.
Troy: Alright! Connor, why don’t we start where it all begins, which is preparing your rig. Before you hit the road, there’s a bunch of things you should look at. You can make yourself a little checklist with what we talk about, but keep these things in mind before you start your journey. The first thing you should look at is your battery. Cold weather drains batteries fast, so check the age and the strength of your battery. You can do this by starting the engine multiple times, or there’s tools you can get to actually plug into your battery and check the life of it. Fuel additives are another thing you should check. Every driver knows that diesel fuel can gel in extreme cold, but not everyone knows why. It’s due to paraffin, which is a hydrocarbon found in diesel. Paraffin crystalizes in freezing temperatures, allowing any water in that fuel to emulsify and turn the diesel into slush. The solution is to use winter-blend fuel with a high cetane rating, and add anti-gel additives at each fill-up.
Connor: That’s right! And next, you’re gonna want to look at cooling systems. Yes, even though it’s cold weather outside, cooling systems are very important to get checked for the way that they function in regard to your radiator, the belts, and the hoses in your rig. So, if you don’t have a proper cooling system working and it’s not maintaining the right temperatures for those components, you can experience failures. So, what’s recommended is checking the coolant to see if it’s at the optimum freeze point and then you’ll know whether or not your cooling system is ready for colder winter conditions. Next is your fuel filter and water separator. For this, you want to monitor the truck’s water separator daily and drain it when full to avoid contamination. That just also means replacing old fuel filters; that protects the engine as well.
Troy: Another one is the air dryer. The air dryer prevents water from entering the brake lines where it can freeze. You know, you guys will be out on the road in icy conditions where using your brakes are gonna be crucial and frequent. So, make sure it works and be sure to change the filter if needed. Also, check out your engine block heater. Since diesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature than gasoline vehicles, they’re harder to start in the winter and make sure when you do start it, you let it idle a while. You want to kind of warm up your rig and ease it into driving mode, similar to what you do with your regular vehicle. Drivers who travel a lot through the coldest parts of the country should consider an electric engine block heater to use when the truck is parked for long periods of time as well.
Connor: Another huge thing to check for is your tire pressure, because cold weather can cause under-inflated tires. They’re prone to wearing faster, and it can hurt your mileage overall. So always be sure to check your tire pressure and adjust that inflation accordingly. So this kind of brings us into our next little section here, it’s emergency supplies. Those are definitely good to take inventory of before you even get on the road, or you’re even planning your next haul. Breakdowns in the summer are inconvenient, but breakdowns in the winter can actually be dangerous, so having the right emergency supplies can really make a difference, sometimes between life and death, whether that’s for you as a commercial driver yourself, or other drivers on the road. Also something to consider is a lot of people aren’t as prepared as maybe commercial drivers are going to be for weather conditions, and having enough emergency supplies for your own self, and maybe even some extras for other drivers on the road, is something we can recommend at least. So Troy, what are some pieces of safety equipment that we can remind drivers to bring on the road with them?
Troy: Yeah, Connor. There’s a handful of things you should always carry as far as safety equipment, the first one being reflectors. Obviously, if you’re stopped or if you would happen to get in an accident, reflectors are a good way to increase visibility, whether it’s people going around you and steering clear of you, or people coming to help. Whether it’s a tow truck or someone else in your fleet, reflectors allow you to be visible while still kind of drawing attention to yourself so people can avoid you. Another one is tire chains, and Connor, I know you dug into some research as far as the laws and regulations about using and carrying tire chains.
Connor: Yep, that’s right. They basically vary on a state-by-state basis. Some are only permitted during the worst weather, whereas others have actually a range of dates that you can use them within. It really has to do with whether or not a road is paved, and actually, in states like Alaska, you have to obtain a permit from the government to actually use them. So, if you’re driving across different states, just be sure to check out their specific laws regarding tire chains.
Troy: Yeah, and this is mostly because if you’re using chains on a road that doesn’t have snow, it can damage both your vehicle and the infrastructure of the road, which is why many states are putting in these regulations, just to save them some money when it comes to road repairs.
Connor: Yep, that’s absolutely right. So yeah, just keep that in mind as you’re driving across different states this winter.
Troy: Yeah, and similar to reflectors you should also have flares with you. These will increase your visibility as well. And the final piece of safety equipment you should always carry is rock salt. You might get in a tricky situation where you might get stuck in the snow, and rock salt is essential for getting out, as well as tire chains. You can put rock salt in front of or in back of your tires and hopefully melt the snow enough that you can get back on your way.
Connor: Another good thing to use rock salt for is just to put it on the step up to your cab when you’re exiting and entering your truck.
Troy: For sure.
Connor: You can slip and just fall down, and that wouldn’t be good. So, sprinkle a little bit of that before you go to bed, and you should be good in the morning then.
Troy: Yeah, so let’s look at a survival kit. I know, unfortunately, some truck drivers get stuck overnight in the snow, and it’s important to have the essentials for staying comfortable and safe overnight when you are trapped on the road. Connor, why don’t you start us off?
Connor: Alright so, survival kit. You don’t exactly need a man versus wild Bear Grills type of kit here, but covering the basics is essential really. The first thing, obviously, is food and water. Try to bring extra food, nonperishable obviously, because you’re probably going to be storing this for an extended period of time, but it’s just to have it in the right event, or the wrong event really.
Troy: For sure! And you never know when your rig will break down and you might not be able to heat something up. It’s not just getting stuck in the snow; trucks break down every single day. You might not be with electricity, so it’s important to have things that you can eat that are somewhat nutritious and don’t need cooking or don’t need a lot of preparation.
Connor: Right, and with that, bring some extra water along. Just have some sealed jugs of water. Next up, you’re gonna want to bring some blankets, maybe one of those mummy sleeping bags, because if you don’t have power in your rig, if it breaks down or whatever the situation is, even if you are in an accident or something like that or other drivers are in accidents, the initial impact can actually cause people to go into shock a lot of the time. So, giving them a blanket to kind of stabilize their body temperature is a good thing just to have on hand. You can get one of those small, silver emergency blanket type of things, or just bring extras, whatever fits in your cab.
Troy: And next is batteries, and I think this is one of the most forgotten about essential items of the safety kit. Nowadays, we kind of charge everything and can just plug everything into an outlet, but if you do lose power, batteries are gonna be essential. And that doesn’t just mean your regular AAA or AA batteries, it’s nice to have a spare phone battery as well that’s already charged. If you need to communicate with your boss, or friends or family, or someone that’s gonna be helping you out, having a spare phone battery is going to be crucial, and it’s essential, especially if you don’t have electricity in your rig.
Connor: And on that same note, if you can afford it, maybe bring an extra battery for your rig itself.
Troy: For sure.
Connor: I mean obviously, like we mentioned, you should prepare ahead of time to have a healthy battery in your truck, but something could go wrong or another driver could be in need. You know, we’re all about just preparing for yourself and others, because there’s nothing worse than being on the road and feeling stranded. So next, you’ll also want to bring different types of lamps or, like we mentioned, flares. Even glow sticks. Just some other form of light that doesn’t require electricity to run, because if you need to make a quick repair to your rig or you need to find something in your rig or outside, or just signal to other people, having something that will reliably emit light for you is really nice to have. You’ll also want to bring, obviously, a radio or a phone charger, or a combination of both. They make those little hand-crank ones, so if anybody’s listening to this and needs and idea for their trucker for the holidays, maybe a nice hand-crank radio or phone survival sort of device would be nice, but yeah, those can really come in at a moment’s notice to help a lot.
Troy: Yeah, and next a multi-tool is also a great gift for the holidays, as well as an essential item to bring with. You never know if you’re going to need to cut something, or screw something, or unscrew something, but a multi-tool is something just to have anytime, and not just in your rig. It’s something small that you can fit in your pocket or in the center console of your rig, but you can never go wrong having too many tools in your rig, I believe. And if you have little repairs that need to be made, a multi-tool is a great item to have.
Connor: Absolutely. Next, definitely be sure to bring a first aid kit. I mean, that should have been a little higher up on our list honestly, but you’re hearing it now. First aid kits are essential, especially if, like we mentioned if there’s an accident or something and you need to use it or someone else needs to use it, just having antiseptic, gauze, whatever its gonna be inside that kit, is really important to keep that fully stocked. Another thing to note with that is you should always check the expiration date of your medical kits, just to make sure that none of the products inside it have gone bad, because they will need replacing. It’s not safe to use them at a certain point. And finally, you might want to consider bringing some extra sunglasses, if it’s snowy weather and you actually have to get out of your cab and walk to find civilization or whatever it would be, having a designated pair of sunglasses can help you make a long trek and avoid eye fatigue so that you can actually see where you’re going. That or goggles, I guess. Yeah, so those are your basic items for your survival kit. If you guys have any suggestions for what you should include or what you personally include in your survival kit, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter @BigRigBanter. So now we’re going to talk about plotting your route and the hazards you may encounter. Ideally, you’re going to hear about most of this through the CB radio regarding the conditions that are lying ahead and what to avoid but really, it’s about responding to road conditions the proper way and in the way that you’ve been trained and how you’ve learned. So what can you tell us about that, Troy?
Troy: Yeah you know, this is something that driving companies and drivers constantly talk about, and I’m sure that Jim is gonna mention it when we talk to him later in the podcast, but you need to know when to pull over. One of the biggest things that will get a driver in trouble is thinking that they have the time and the power to make it through a particularly treacherous route. Your safety and life will always supersede whatever you’re hauling, so always make sure you’re looking out for your best interest. Keep in mind for yourself; again, it’s just a job. I know you want to do your job to the best of your ability, but you have to look out for your own personal safety. It’s also a good idea to listen to the radio, not only will you hear weather advisories from your local stations, but you should always be listening to your fellow truckers on the CB radio as well. They might be in front of you and already have a good idea of what you can expect in the route ahead. As well, there’s some apps that you can download that will also kind of give you a heads up to any accidents on the road or particularly dangerous conditions.
Connor: And we’ll have a link to some of those in the description below.
Troy: Yep! But in case you are befallen by those treacherous conditions, if you get in an accident or you get stranded, Connor I know you have some tips and tricks for that as well.
Connor: Right. So, if you’re in an accident or you are stranded, it’s best to try to remain in your rig as much as you can. With frigid temperatures, low visibility, and icy conditions, being out on the road without the protection of your rig can actually be very dangerous. If you have a phone, make sure to call for help as soon as possible. Inform your dispatcher or your company, what’s going on. If you feel like you might have to make a prolonged stay in your rig, then, as we mentioned earlier, make sure to have that survival kit handy so that you can make it through the night at least, and then if you do decide to venture out of your rig, make sure to set up some flares so that the first responders will see you and to alert other drivers as well.
Troy: Yeah, and if you do need to communicate with your dispatchers or delivery points, you’ll also want to let them know if you’re going to be late. Most places will be understanding if you give them a heads up, but not letting them know you’re gonna be late can turn pretty sour pretty quickly. It’s also important to make sure the conditions for offloading are okay. Slippery conditions or low visibility can be very dangerous when you’re pulling in, especially if you’re around other truckers. Watch your footing and make sure to communicate as much as possible so you can prevent any potential hazards.
Connor: That’s right. So that’s a lot of the basics there. I mean I’m sure a lot of you guys probably have experienced these sort of things in the past, and obviously have more experience with it than we do, but we just thought we’d kind of provide a friendly reminder about what to consider driving in the winter, because people can panic and you can blank on what you need to do, so just having a nice, gentle reminder as far as safety is concerned…it’s good every so often.
Troy: For sure! And you’ve heard us talk all this time, but let’s bring in an expert. Connor, we were lucky enough to talk with Jim Ward, who is a director of safety at Transervice, and let’s hear what Jim has to say.
Connor: Alright, we’re here with James Ward and Sean Schnipper, and we’re here today discussing winter driving tips. Guys, thanks for coming on the show. We really appreciate it.
Jim/Sean: No problem, of course.
Connor: So first, would you like to tell our listeners a little about your company and what you guys do?
Jim: Well we’re a contract carrier and a full-service maintenance company. We do a lot of basically logistics. We do a lot of third-party carriage and maintenance for some of the larger grocery companies and also some of the compressed gas companies, as well as a major hardware chain, amongst other things.
Connor: Very good, okay! So our first question, you know, the winter months are coming up, and drivers need to prepare for what’s ahead, so what are some things you recommend drivers do to prepare their rigs for winter when they’re hauling your products? And what are some concerns you have for winter driving conditions?
Jim: We basically have the guys, each driver whatever part of the season it is, we always tell them to make sure that they have pre-tripped and post-tripped all of their vehicles, and if there’s anything that comes up to report it immediately to the maintenance department. As far as winter driving, the trucks are all pretty much set up. A lot of them have block heaters and things of that nature to keep the truck, when they get into it in the morning, it’s ready to roll and it starts up. Some of the locations we have do use chains, but it’s not something that they use on a regular basis. We’ve not really run into doing that too often. As far as the vehicles are concerned, we have maintenance departments that handle that, but of course, they’ll check all the fluids and make sure that everything is in working order as far as the oil, the antifreeze…they’ll prep the vehicle for the season. They’ll use a different mixture during the winter than they do during the summer or the fall. Obviously, they’ll check all the tires and things of that nature. Each vehicle is p-s’d on a regular basis; so if tires need changing, especially drive tires, before the winter months they’ll do that. All of the vehicles keep flares and triangle kits on the vehicles, along with fire extinguishers. We do have some sleeper units that have heating units on them as well. Some of the trucks, depending on the location, some of the guys will have various other things, such as a shovel kit or things of that nature, in case they get stuck and they need to dig out, but in most cases, we will utilize an outside wrecker service, rather be safe than sorry.
Troy: Yeah, you mentioned a lot of different items they carry as far as chains and flares and reflective triangles. Are there any other items you find especially useful when your drivers are out in winter conditions? I know we’ve definitely heard that a lot of people carry survival kits, whether it’s food and water and extra stuff like that, but is there anything… I don’t know if they have a checklist that they need to carry specific items, or is it kind of just everyone knows what to carry with them?
Jim: Most of the locations we have are…we do have some operations that run cross-country, so they have their first aid kits in the truck. Some of them have sand, but for the most part, it’s basically location-specific. So if we have some of the locations where they run over the road, they may require them to carry chains, they’ll require them to carry specific things, like you said, like water and stuff of that nature. We really don’t run, except for our one location up in Oregon, we really don’t run in rural, rural areas where there’s not help nearby. A lot of the stuff we do we have accounts with wrecker services so that, should somebody break down or get caught in the snow or the ice, we have national accounts across the country with different wrecker services that we use. As far as specific items to keep in the truck, from my point of view, I don’t know of anybody that requires them to have water or food, but by all means, especially the over-the-road drivers, they have small refrigerators, I believe, in all of the sleepers. They bring snacks, and I’m sure water and drinks with them. For how many days they will last, I couldn’t tell you but again, a lot of the areas that we run, we’ll run through some rural highways, but we don’t really get up into the mountains or anything to that effect where we’re totally out of the way. We haven’t really run into any issues like that. I mean, obviously, we run into the occasional deer here and there but that’s about it.
Connor: Right. So, kind of speaking to that, what are some main mistakes that you see, maybe younger drivers or less experienced drivers who have to drive in winter, what mistakes do you see them making commonly?
Jim: Well, from looking at inexperience, obviously all of the different collisions and accidents that come across my desk, I think a lot of it has to do, in winter driving, with speed. Being aware of the situation, especially if you’re going under overpasses. Let’s say you’re driving on the west side of a mountain, the sun is coming up, it’s going to be all shaded, and what happens is you run into a lot of black ice. We have some locations in upstate New York and like I said, in other northern climates where black ice is prevalent, and we also have a lot of locations in the Midwest that run through the I-80 corridor, so they’ll get a lot of ice. Obviously, speed is one of the factors. It may not necessarily just be in young drivers, but even some of the older drivers who get more complacent as they get older. We don’t really get into jackknifing that often. In the winter, when we do have them, it usually is due to black ice. They’re driving down a dry road and they come across a curve, or they’re going under an overpass and that’s where they’ll lose it because you don’t realize that there’s no spray coming up from the road, and as you go under that overpass, it’s shaded. It’s the one place where you’re not gonna have melt off as you would on an exposed section of the highway where the sun is hitting it. That’s really where we get, as far as common mistakes in the winter; it would be things that happen like that. The more serious stuff would be black ice, jackknives, and then we also have the making a turn too short and running over a snow berm. When the roads are plowed we do a lot of backing into locations and pulling back and forth and forward, it’ll do a little bit of damage to the truck, but it’s still something that should be watched out for. When they’re backing and pulling forward, especially in narrow locations, they’ll hit these snow mounds that were made by the plow. Believe it or not, let that freeze up a little bit and you can rip a bumper off or crack a fender, you could see that happen as well.
Troy: And what’s the worst winter storm you’ve ever encountered up there? I know New York gets a lot of snow, is there any one that sticks out that really kind of put the brakes on all of trucking?
Jim: I wouldn’t know by name. We’ve had guys, not only in New York, we actually had Indiana, I think it was in either the beginning of ’16 or the end of ’15 where we had a large snow storm where they had a state of emergency and they shut everything down, and then we had guys that were stranded on the road. Basically what they had to do was find a safe haven, whether it was a motel or wherever they can go to get off the road, cause they shut everything down in a state of emergency. We’ve had that happen here in New York as well with some of our locations but again, it really falls to the guys who are in the day cabs, the guys who are just running out for their 10 or 11 hour day and coming back. You’re more concerned for them because they don’t have a place to hunker down in the back of a sleeper, but we have run into some pretty large storms. We recently, in the beginning of 2015, we were involved in a serious collision in Tennessee. It was multi-vehicle. What happened was, people were driving on warm, wet roadways and they come over the top of a hill, and it’s a sheet of ice. Everybody started spinning like they were on ice skates, and when you’ve got a truck that’s loaded with groceries or whatever it might be and you come over the hill and that happens, whether you’re doing 30 or 40 miles an hour, there’s no way to stop. It doesn’t necessarily have to be snow. A lot of times it is ice that’s really our nemesis because you can’t control it, you can’t stop on it. It’s hard enough to stop a four-wheel vehicle; an 18-wheel vehicle is a lot more difficult.
Jim: Again, snow will shut us down. Fortunately, we have a lot of drivers that are very experienced. They’ve dealt with the weather. Most of our locations are north of the Mason Dixon Line, as far as our transportation locations. We only have one or two that are below, in the South Carolina area. Everything else is pretty much Kentucky and north, Louisville and north. We do run into a lot of mixed weather, and we send out newsletters, we use videos, things that really would be helpful, what to look for when they’re running into these situations. Obviously, the most part is to protect themselves and the public. So obviously one of the first things we tell them is lower your speed, which is without saying probably one of the most important things to do.
Jim: Just overall, be more cautious. Stay out of high-speed situations, try to keep your distance, especially when the weather is iffy, whether it’s freezing rain, even if it’s just rain but it’s cold out, you never know when you’re gonna hit a patch or when somebody else in front of you loses control. So, that’s what we try to tell them is keep your distance. Sometimes we’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that guy loses control he’s off to our right rear and he comes up behind us and runs under the back wheel. It’s happened before. I’m sure it’s happened to everybody, but we try to push the issue, again I keep saying it, but speed is the issue. Just keep it low, keep it lower than the speed limit if the weather is not perfect, so to speak.
Connor: Awesome, that’s a lot of great information and I’m sure our listeners are really going to appreciate just having a nice review. Again, thanks guys for coming on the program and talking with us. Before we wrap things up, is there anything you’d like listeners to know about your company?
Sean: We are constantly hiring, recruiting multiple drivers, technicians, mechanics from all locations throughout the United States. So our website is www.transervice.com, so feel free to stop by at any time. Go to our website. Look at our career page. There’s a lot of great information on there.
Connor: Perfect, that’s awesome. Thanks, guys. We really appreciate the time.
Jim: Okay, thank you, guys.
Connor: Alright and now it’s time for our fun section and of course, now that we’re in the full swing of the holiday season, we’re gonna bring you our top gifts for truckers. So Troy, what is under your trucking Christmas tree this year?
Troy: Yeah, Connor and I have picked a few gifts out from a blog that you can find on AllTruckJobs.com, The Trucker’s Holiday Gift Guide, and my first gift I would choose is probably the XM satellite radio. Connor and I are both big music fans, and I think if I was on the road I’d want some good music to listen to, whether it’s music, sports, politics, and even shows about trucking that you can listen to, of course after you listen to ours. Sirius XM Radio offers a lot of great channels to listen to, and the most convenient part is you don’t have to be flipping through local radio stations constantly, you’ll be able to get it pretty much anywhere. Connor, what about your holiday gift?
Connor: I would choose the GPS device because, on the same note there, it’ll work anywhere; it’s all through a satellite. Maybe you can get both of these things combined, I don’t even know, but having a GPS in the event of winter hazards or if your navigation system itself, the one that you already have in your truck, goes out, it can be good to have a backup, or just for your personal car at home. If you’re driving around town and you’re used to having that nice navigation system in the front of your dash there, then having a GPS device is really convenient.
Troy: For sure! You know, we’re both thinking about things on the road, but it got me thinking of what we can get truckers to do in their free time, and I thought a great gift would be a Kindle. If your favorite trucker is a bibliophile, a Kindle can be the perfect gift so they can satisfy their literature needs on the road. You don’t have a lot of space while on the road, so keeping a bookcase full of books can be pretty tough, but a Kindle offers a library of literally hundreds of thousands of books, and you can read everything from Mark Twain to Stephen King while on the road.
Connor: Yeah that sounds good! Of course, another solid gift idea, like we mentioned, is a safety kit. You can’t go wrong with that, and it really shows a trucker that you care about them if you’re thinking about their safety. So, not only will that come in use somewhere down the line, but just having that is definitely going to be useful. It’ll include basic stuff like your reflectors, lights, ice scrapers, a window breaking hammer type of thing, a fire extinguisher, and just first aid supplies. So, having that is really useful and thoughtful.
Troy: And you know, Connor, we’ve been talking about all these gifts that we can give truckers, but I know me and you were working on a gift for a while for our trucking audience, why don’t you unwrap that gift for our listeners?
Connor: That’s right! So, as Troy mentioned, we’re both big music fans, so we took the time actually this year to write a trucking song that we’re gonna be debuting right here on this program, this is the only place you can hear it at the moment, but we’re going to have it up on different streaming services. You’ll find it elsewhere on the Internet with the links below, but yeah, it was an interesting process here. Troy and I just kind of sat down in our podcast studio and he wrote the lyrics, I did the music, so here is “Christmas in the Cab.”
Troy (singing): Snowy roads on I-22
Weatherman says don’t forget your boots!
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m three states away
Honey, there’s only one thing to say…
I won’t be home for Christmas
Me and Saint Nick are hittin’ the road
I’m sorry baby – I’m spending Christmas in the cab, tonight
Me and the ‘Man in Red’ got a thousand miles to go
I’m spending Christmas in the cab
Troy (singing): Rudolph’s passed out in the back
Naughty or nice – who’s keeping track?
18 wheels is a hell of a sleigh
There’s only one thing left to say…
I won’t be home for Christmas
Me and Saint Nick are hittin’ the road
I’m sorry baby – I’m spending Christmas in the cab, tonight
Me and the ‘Man in Red’ got a thousand miles to go
I’m spending Christmas in the cab
Connor: Alright, so there you have it! Hope you guys enjoyed that track and again, from all of us here at Big Rig Banter, have a happy holiday season. Next time we’re gonna be talking about recruiting millennial drivers, so be sure to tune into that episode. But thanks for listening, I’m your co-host, Connor Smith.
Troy: And I’m Troy Diffenderfer.
Connor: And this has been Big Rig Banter.
Music – Thanks for tuning into another edition of Big Rig Banter. For your next job, check out AllTruckJobs.com, the premier online source for finding the best driver jobs in the country. Browse hundreds of positions by freight or driver type to get back on the road with confidence. Click “subscribe” to keep the conversations coming. Until next time, on Big Rig Banter.