Halloween night 2019 was undoubtedly scary for Maryland: we were hit with strong winds, lightning, and heavy rain! Many truckers would have pulled into truck stops for the night to wait out the showers and get much-needed sleep. But, what happens when a truck driver encounters a sudden storm on the road? The decision then lies between using safer trucking precautions or stopping altogether to wait for better weather. Careful planning before a trip to avoid bad weather is always best. Still, weather changes pretty quickly, and forecasts can be inaccurate. Next time you find yourself caught in stormy and rainy weather on the road, here’s some advice for safe trucking.
Keep Lights on And Clear
Keeping lights on and bright should be like wearing a seatbelt: always do it! Turn on your headlights when driving through rainy weather. Doing this improves your visibility of the road and other’s visibility of you. When trucking through darker and stormy weather, maintaining visibility is crucial.
Lower Radio Volume
Keep your radio on, but turn down the volume. You want to listen in for weather updates, road conditions, traffic news, or get info on alternative routes. On top of your noisy trailers, the rain pounding on your cab, and the hum of the wheels over the road, you will need to listen for approaching emergency vehicles. Or, perhaps you’ll listen for odd noises coming from your truck. Lowering the radio to an appropriate volume lets you focus on monitoring your surroundings better.
Reduce your driving speed and slow to maintain a greater following distance. If you suddenly brake, your wheels may not have enough traction with the wet road to stop your truck from flying forward. Hydroplaning and losing control of your vehicle is terrifying in any situation. Don’t think to release some air from your tires to get a better grip on the road, either. Tires work best when properly inflated. Changing speeds, like slowing down or in instances where you need to speed up, should occur gradually, too.
Avoid Driving into Water Pools
Truckers think their larger vehicle can handle going through a pool of water in the road. Don’t make this mistake! Small amounts of moving floodwater can wash away large trucks. Plus, you never know what the water pool is obscuring. There could be a dangerous pothole, or the water is much deeper than it looks.
Know When to Wait
Sometimes, driving in bad weather is not worth the risk. Using safe trucking precautions can still result in accidents in the rain. Even if you’re on a long haul and want to stay on schedule for delivery, stopping and waiting can guarantee you’ll make it to your destination safely than not at all.
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