Staying Safe on Alaska’s Road: 2023 Holiday Driving Guide for Truckers

For many, this is a time to be home for the holidays, but for commercial drivers they are working tirelessly to keep stores stocked, help Santa deliver presents, and work over time. First thank you to those commercial drivers who make toy deliveries to good boys and girls around the United States possible. If you know a truck driver be sure to thank them! This surge isn’t just about gifts; it includes a significant uptick in the transportation of food, decorations, and even the essential Christmas trees.

According to 2019 statistics from the National Safety Council, approximately 32.34 percent of fatalities in trucking accidents happen between November and January, indicating that nearly a third of all trucking fatalities occur during the holiday season (McGinn Law).

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 146,930 people were injured in accidents involving large trucks in 2020. The NHTSA also tracked traffic-related deaths from 2001-2005 and found that on average 45 people died per day during the holiday season rather than the average 36 (Drive Big Trucks).

Tips from Commercial Drivers on Driving During Holiday 

Many of these tips may seem obvious for more seasoned drivers, but we will try to share them with a “peppermint” twist! 

❄️ Holiday music: Blast some holiday music in your vehicle. Here are two suggested playlists to move you along: 

Playlist #1: Jingle all the Wheels

Playlist #2: LGT Transport Trucking Playlist

❄️ Call your family: When you call them, though make sure you are following cell phone use compliance for CDL drivers. To comply with safety regulations, drivers should ensure their mobile phone is within reach while they are secured by seat belts, and use features like an earpiece, speakerphone, voice-activated dialing, or hands-free operation, which allows initiating, answering, or ending a call by pressing a single button. Drivers are non-compliant if they reach unsafely for their phone, even with the intent to use hands-free functions. Learn more about these standards here.

❄️ Don’t use the Jake Brake if the road is icy.  The compression release engine brake, also known as the Jake Brake, releases compressed air in the cylinders and will halt the wheels entirely. Your rig will skid across the ice if the conditions are slippery enough. Instead, put the truck into a lower gear and use regular friction brakes to maximize safety (Drive My Way).

❄️Keep tanks full to stay safe when winter storms hit, leave early to avoid holiday traffic congestion, and inspect vehicle often. Learn additional tips at Ramsey Law Group.

Ensure Safety of your commercial drivers during the holiday season

❄️Provide additional budget/food for special holiday meals on the road. 

❄️Create holiday training programs for new drivers and involve seasoned drivers to boost morale. 

❄️Recognize and support these employees with tokens of appreciation. 

For all those driving this time of year and celebrating, we want to remind you how unsafe it is to drink and drive. If you are a commercial driver and see reckless driving, please call 911. 

Alaska’s recent holiday DUI statistics are alarming: 3,308 fatalities, with 75% involving alcohol; 25% of these incidents involved drivers under 21. Additionally, 3,942 pedestrians were injured, 171 people were hurt while driving impaired, and 37 injuries resulted from motor vehicle collisions due to drunk driving.

If accidents occur this holiday season whether it is Christmas New Years or any other snowy Alaska day. Our readiness to provide timely and efficient services is a key aspect in upholding the safety and health standards for our driving team, especially during the busy holiday period. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and thank you to all those out there who are working hard to make this the most wonderful time of year.