The winter season brings snow, ice and other hazards for truck drivers, both on and off the road. It also brings an increase in workers’ compensation claims for accidents that have nothing directly to do with actually driving a truck, according to a report from, a truck driver staffing company.
Nearly half of all trucker injuries happen during the winter, statistics show, with 63 percent of injury costs coming from winter events. Ice and snow can be blamed for a lot of slips and falls. Slick steps, running boards and trailer decks may increase the risk of slips and falls that cause serious injuries to truck drivers.
Truck drivers can take steps to reduce the chance of injury during the winter months. In addition to taking extra precautions on the road, some of the suggestions from Driving Ambition to stay safe while not driving include:
- Wear study footwear with slip-resistant soles, preferably ankle boots with hard rubber soles. Treat boots with a water-sealing product to retain the shoes’ waterproofing.
- Look for, and avoid, icy spots in parking lots and on dock steps, tractor steps and catwalks. Keep your hands free and use handrails to steady yourself. Don’t put carpet on tractor steps. In cold or icy conditions, carpet can freeze, making for a very slippery climb.
- Make it a habit to run your foot across the top step while still sitting in your truck to check for ice.
- Take your time and use “three points of contact” when entering and exiting the truck. Rushing is a leading cause of falls. In any weather, truck drivers should always face the truck when using the three-point climbing method.
- Remember that equipment may not work as well in cold weather. Avoid injuries from pulling hoods, trailer tandem sliders and hard-pulling fifth-wheel pins.
- Dress for the weather. Not wearing proper headgear and gloves could lead to frostbite when outside your truck, in particular when refueling or inspecting equipment. Make sure you wear the right gear for cold weather.
- Cold weather can make muscles tense, making you more likely to strain a muscle. Stretching and warm-up exercises can help avoid strains. In addition, your body will get fatigued quicker when going between warm and cold temperatures, so make sure you and your body get plenty of rest.
- Don’t jump. Jumping from the cab, deck plate or steps can cause serious injuries. While this is true in any weather, it’s especially important in potentially icy or slippery winter conditions.
On-the job injuries — including those caused by slips and falls by truck drivers in bad weather — should be evaluated by an experienced attorney, who can review the case and determine the steps that should be taken to recover benefits through workers’ compensation and any other potential sources.
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