Family Center - A Trucker's Wife

Fall and Winter Tips

By Cathie Yoesel

As I sit here looking out the patio doors, I see leaves starting to gently fall from the numerous big old maple trees in our yard. Soon those leaves will be crimson and gold and there will be a veritable snowfall of leaves gracing the lawn. Soon after that I am sure I'll look out one crisp late fall morning and see the ground covered in fluffs of sparkling white snow.

One of the things that I have always found to be the most stressful as a trucker's wife is the winter months. I am not a huge fan of driving in inclement weather, although having been a Nebraska girl all my life I should be used to it by now. But every time I wake up in the morning and see all that white snow or, worse yet, ice on the streets, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my tummy. I truly hate driving on bad streets, but like so many other things we as the wives of truckers get used to, it is a necessity, so I've learned to suck it up and get on out there and tackle the weather before it gets me down.

One thing I've been grateful for is the advent of the cell phone. When my kids were little, cell phones were not as prevalent as they are now. If I had a breakdown or got stuck, I was truly STUCK until someone came along. Now if I have a problem I just call our auto service center and in a few minutes I am receiving the help I need. Whether it be a dead battery that needs a jump start or a little slide off the road, having a good relationship with your service man is a good idea. This holds true no matter what time of year it is.

The next thing I have learned over the years is that even a trip to the next town is not without its potential hazards, so be prepared. I never leave home anymore without an extra jacket, extra headgear, fresh gloves in case mine get wet, and a bag of kitty litter or some other such product in case we get stuck on ice or something. I also always carry blankets, flashlights, snack foods, and extra batteries, as well as water and power drinks. That way if the girls and I get stuck out and about, we're covered until help gets there. Luckily, we've never had to take advantage of these things other than the extra clothing once when the heater went out in my trusty old mini-van.

I know that some folks who read this article are blessed with mild weather during the winter, so just keep this in mind in case you ever travel to a part of the United States that does experience harsher winter weather.

As far as being home prepared for the winter, always keep an eye on the weather and weather reports. If the weatherman predicts harsh weather make sure you have plenty of staples in the house as far as foodstuffs go. This includes bread or bread-making products, milk, eggs, and so on and so forth. In my part of the world at least, it is not unusual to have the electricity go out during any storm. Lots of candles and flashlights go a long way toward evoking a little cozier feeling until the repairmen gets your power back on line. Shoot, we've even roasted marshmallows on candles a time or two. Hot dogs are also a treat when roasted over a gas flame or candle. It's like camping out in your own home.

Also remember that wintertime for some in the industry means slowing of freight. That means less money come payday, at a time when fuel bills are at their highest. If possible, save a little extra during the gravy months and tuck it back or even apply it to your bill ahead of time. I know some gas and electric companies will let you credit to your account. Also, if your utility company offers a level payment plan, by all means take advantage of this wonderful option. It certainly eliminates any nasty surprises during the cold months.

Last, but not least, when your driver does get home during these colder months, do be sure and take a little time to just fill up the cocoa mugs, snuggle together under a warm blanket, put on a favorite movie or CD, and spend some time together just catching up with each other.

Until next time, I wish you happiness, little stress, and safety for YOUR favorite driver.