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Driving in winter weather? These USPS employees have some tips

It’s always important to be careful, but especially when conditions are harsh

A man stands near a USPS tractor-trailer
James Chicano, a tractor-trailer operator for USPS, stands near his vehicle last year.

Postal Service employees who drive delivery vehicles have advice for colleagues who are braving the slick and icy conditions affecting many of the nation’s roads this week.

“The one tip I live by is leave enough room between vehicles,” said James Chicano, a USPS tractor-trailer driver based in Waterbury, CT. “Don’t tailgate. You can make decisions if you have the time. Leave yourself enough room to react.”

Chicano is one of more than 11,000 uniformed USPS motor vehicle, tractor-trailer or noncommercially licensed operators.

He is also one of many postal employees who have received the National Safety Council Million Mile Award, which recognizes professionals who have driven 1 million miles or accumulated 30 years of driving without preventable incidents.

The Postal Service relies on drivers such as Chicano to help safely move mail and packages every day, and especially during times like this week, when much of the nation is dealing with winter storms and extremely cold weather.

Other USPS drivers recommend making room for maintenance vehicles and snowplows and keeping an eye out for black ice on slippery overpasses and bridges.

Of course, general safe driving tips — such as wearing a seatbelt, avoiding distractions when behind the wheel and maintaining good tread on your tires — are also recommended.

The Postal Service provides safety guidance and training for all drivers. Employees can go to the Safety Blue page for more information, including Safety Depends on Me! videos on working in winter weather.

As USPS drivers will tell you, safety is important no matter where you live and work — even in places that don’t receive much snow and ice.

“The key is to stay focused and keep your mind on the road and the task at hand,” said Layton Aliviado, a tractor-trailer operator based in Honolulu and a Million Mile Award recipient.