Planning For Weather When Trucking

Challenging weather can cause all kinds of issues when transporting freight. In fact, weather is responsible for nearly one-fourth of all truck delays. Weather conditions can also make roads more hazardous and it’s important for drivers to be aware of how to stay safe. Learn how to plan for the weather when trucking in our blog below.

Planning For All Types of Weather

Inclement weather conditions can lead to dangerous road conditions, power outages, and capacity limitations, so it is essential to prepare for all types of conditions, including rain, snow, wind, fog, and extreme temperatures.


Nearly half of the 25% of trucking accidents caused by weather occur when it’s raining. Rain decreases visibility and increases the potential of hydroplaning, creating one of the most dangerous bad-weather trucking combinations. Practicing safe driving techniques, such as slowing down, can help truck drivers stay safe during a storm. If the rain impacts your visibility, you may have to pull off to the side of the road until it passes.


Snow and ice also have an impact on trucking mobility. If you expect to drive through the snow along your route, come prepared with the right gear, such as tire chains, to ensure safe travel. Every driver should also equip themselves with an emergency safety kit with items like a reflective vest, extra warm clothing, and nonperishable food and water. Additionally, give yourself extra stopping distance when driving in snowy or icy weather, and avoid quick, sharp turns. As with rainy conditions, don’t hesitate to stop and wait for it to pass. 


High winds cause dangerous driving conditions for truckers by blowing obstructions into the road and impacting a rig’s stability. If you are driving in high crosswinds, find a safe place to stop, ideally facing the wind head-on to minimize the risk of flipping. Fog also has unique challenges for truckers, causing decreased visibility. If your visibility declines, pull onto the shoulder of an off-ramp to wait it out. Avoid stopping on the side of the road if possible, as your tail lights may confuse traffic behind you.

Extreme Temperatures

Extreme cold or warm temperatures can affect cargo quality, driver capabilities, and vehicle performance, so drivers must prepare for these conditions as well.

Driving in cold weather can damage a truck’s internal workings, forcing the engine and its parts to push harder than they’re designed to. To prevent this, start and run your rig for 15 minutes before driving. Running the engine allows it time to warm up the oil, fuel, and other fluids so they can move freely through the system. Extreme cold also leads to low tire pressure, so keep a gauge on hand and check your tire pressure regularly. 

Warm Weather

Warm weather can have just as much of a negative impact on a semi-truck as cold weather. Hot road surfaces can compromise tire performance or cause engine failure. Drivers and cargo can also face some consequences in high temperatures, even in an air-conditioned cab or refrigerated truck, so it is vital to slow down and take regular breaks to mitigate the effects of the heat. Try to park during the hottest part of the day, continuing your trip in the evening when the temperature cools.

Drive With the Best at DSW

Employer support is crucial when facing unexpected weather as a trucker. At DSW, our management is composed of former drivers that understand what life on the road is like. When you choose to drive with the best, we will work as hard for you as you work for us.

To inquire about our available trucking positions, contact DSW today.

When To Use Tire Chains

Winter is upon us, and with the new season comes new weather challenges for everyone on the road. While most motorists can simply change to a set of all-season or winter tires to help manage the snow, preparation for inclement weather is more difficult for truck drivers. One of the best safety precautions a trucker can take is installing tire chains on their rig. Here is everything you need to know about when, how, and why to use tire chains on your semi-truck.

Semi-Truck Tire Chain Use

Tire chains allow semi-trucks to gain additional traction during snowy and icy road conditions and are a crucial tool during the winter. Most states have tire chain laws, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) issues a notice when it’s time to put them in place. However, if you are experiencing slippery conditions, you do not have to wait for the authorities’ announcement to install chains. You can also use chains to get your truck back on the road if it is stuck.

While tire chains are vital during inclement weather, they can damage dry roads. Make sure to remove them as soon as the snow and ice melt.

How to Put Tire Chains on a Semi-Truck

Now that you understand when and why to use tire chains, let’s discuss how to put them on your rig. Although semi-trucks have 18 wheels, you only need to install chains on the drive wheels.

Follow these six steps to install tire chains on your truck:

  • Inspect chains. Lay each chain flat in front of each drive wheel with the adjustment cams outward. Inspect them for any damage, twists, or knots.
  • Drape chains over wheels. Start with the inside of the tire and loosely attach each chain link at the bottom of the tire. You can also drive your truck forward a few feet to roll the wheels onto the chains.
  • Connect chains. Once the chains are on your tires, hook the inside clips of each chain.
  • Tighten cams. Ensure a secure fit by using an adjusting wrench to tighten the cams.
  • Test chains. Drive a short distance after installation and inspect each wheel for any malfunctions. 
  • Add extra security. For additional security and tension, attach a bungee cord or tire strap across the outside of the wheel to hold the chains in place.

Tips For Driving a Semi-Truck With Tire Chains

Driving with tire chains differs from driving with bare tires.

The following tips will help you drive safely with tire chains installed:

  • Reduce your speed. You risk chain failure and can damage your truck at speeds over 30 mph.
  • Check your weight. Tire chains can add up to 1,000 pounds to your vehicle weight, so adjust your freight load to ensure you pass weight station inspections.
  • Follow tire chain laws. Local requirements regarding tire chains vary. To avoid a fine, familiarize yourself with your state’s regulations and follow them throughout the winter.

Drive Safely During Every Season

No matter what season it is, truckers should practice safety. At DSW, we prioritize the well-being of our drivers, providing them with state-of-the-art equipment to help ensure safety and efficiency on the road. We also provide live, 24/7 support to all our employees while they are on their routes.

Apply today to start your trucking driving career with DSW.

OTR Vs Regional Trucking

Trucking is a unique career and is more of a lifestyle than a job. Within the field of trucking, there are variations in the types of routes that affect what exactly this lifestyle looks like. One example is the difference between over-the-road (OTR) and regional trucking. OTR routes can travel through any combination of states and may involve long distances, whereas regional routes stay within a smaller area, e.g. the Southwest United States.

Similarities Between OTR And Regional Trucking

Both OTR and regional trucking involve hauling freight. Compared to local routes, both types of driving involve spending multiple days at a time on the road and you will often sleep in the semi-truck. This means that whether you pursue OTR or regional trucking, your day-to-day will likely line up with what is typically considered the “trucking lifestyle.”

Both pay well due to high demand. Semi-trucks move 72.2% of freight in the United States according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Some of this freight must move a long distance whereas other shipments stay regional. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), 56.7% of goods by value moved less than 250 miles between origin and destination.

Difference – Time On The Road

The biggest difference between OTR and regional routes is the time on the road. The exact length of time will depend on the haul. OTR drivers typically are out for several weeks at a time. Regional routes vary from a few days to a few weeks, but are shorter than OTR routes and get drivers home more often.

Difference – Variety

Regional routes, as the name implies, stay within a more limited area than OTR. This keeps drivers closer to home, but it can also limit the variety. Many regional routes work with one customer or a smaller group of customers.

Depending on your preferences, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage for regional vs OTR. You’ll be able to get used to the routes more easily and can learn the quirks of traffic, weather conditions, truck stop options, et cetera. On the other hand, it can get repetitive, and if you want to wake up somewhere new every day, OTR would likely be a better fit.

Now Hiring For OTR And Regional Routes

If you’re looking for a well-paying truck driving career with excellent benefits, you can find one at DSW. Whether you prefer regional or OTR, we have positions available for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. We offer the best home time around and are a family-owned trucking company. At DSW, we know our drivers by name, not by truck number, and we strive to work as hard for you as you work for us.

To learn more about our available trucking jobs based in Tucson, contact us today.

Extra Items To Improve Your Trucking Experience

As a trucker, your vehicle is your home away from home. The interior of a semi-truck may not be particularly large, but there are many ways to make it feel like your own. New truckers will typically need to stick to the basics, but as you get used to the rhythm of life on the road and understand how to maximize space, there are many “extras” you can consider to improve your trucking experience.

Some items include:

Better Mattress And Bedding

Sleep is essential for health and well-being and for truckers, it can be difficult to get used to how to get enough high-quality sleep. Investing in a better mattress can make a big difference, and so can adding additional pillows and bedding. You can also use your bedding to personalize your truck’s interior.

Slow Cooker

Eating well on the road is sometimes challenging. Although you can find more healthy options than ever, preparing your own food is more cost-effective and usually more nutritious. A slow cooker makes it simple to enjoy home-cooked meals as a trucker. You can simply add the ingredients before you start driving and have a warm meal ready when you shut down for the day.

Exercise Equipment

You don’t need an extensive gym setup to work out. Depending on your preferred exercises, you likely can find small semi-truck-friendly equipment to take along without using up too much space. For example, if you like cardio, you can bring a pair of running shoes and/or a jump rope. For weights, small kettlebells or weight sets can often fit in your cab for quick work-outs on the go.

Supplies For Hobbies

Finding hobbies you can take on the road gives you something to do during your free time and can help reduce stress. There are many hobbies that are compact enough to take on the road.

Some examples include:

  • Photography – Bring a camera on your hauls and take pictures of the sights you see.
  • Video Games – A handheld console is very easy to take on a truck, and with an inverter, you can even hook up a small TV for gaming.
  • Reading – An e-reader makes it possible to take an entire library on your truck.
  • Drawing – A sketchbook and art set can easily fit in your cab and gives you a creative outlet.
  • Writing – A small laptop or even traditional pen and paper allows you to write stories or document your life on the road.

Trucking Jobs Based In Tucson

If you’re looking for a new truck driving job, DSW is currently hiring for over-the-road (OTR) and regional routes. We are a family-owned trucking company with excellent home time and competitive pay and benefits. We work as hard for our drivers as they work for us.

To learn more about our trucking positions, contact us today.