4 Things Truckers Should Know About Driving in Bad Weather
This time of year is notorious for its high winds, cold weather, and heavy storms. For truckers driving semis in these kinds of weather conditions, there are things they need to know that can help keep them safe on the road.
What Makes Driving A Semi In High Winds So Dangerous?
When you think of the most threatening weather conditions for a semi-truck, heavy winds aren’t necessarily what comes to mind. Most people would think that rain, icy roads, or snow are the main threats. However, high winds are quite possibly the most dangerous winter conditions to drive in. This is because they have a particularly strong effect on semi-trucks, due to their sheer size and height. Additionally, unlike other winter truck driving conditions, you cannot always see the wind and thus cannot necessarily prepare for it.
We’re going to lay out seven things that you can do to stay safe while you are driving a semi in high winds.
Tip #1: Slow Down
This rule of thumb works great for when you’re truck driving in bad weather of all kinds, whether it be ice or wind or anything in between. It is recommended to lower your speed by about 20 miles per hour or to a speed in which you feel most comfortable. If you feel as though you should only be driving 25 miles an hour, trust your instincts because they are usually right.
Tip #2: Know When It’s Time To Pull Over
Sometimes, there’s no safe way to drive on a road. You just need to pull over, either on the side of the road or a nearby parking lot, and wait for the winds to pass. Even though it might be tempting to just try and push through the weather, it’s best not to be reckless.
Tip #3: Check The Weather Forecast
Before hitting the road, it’s important to check the weather forecast. No matter how short or long of a drive is ahead of you, being aware of how fast the winds are is an important part of being safe while truck driving in bad weather. (For reference, winds of 60 miles per hour and more are considered to be too dangerous.) If the winds are too high, it’s best to wait it out. On top of that, some dispatchers might insist that you depart at a certain time. If you know your limits, we suggest you respectfully explain your situation and continue to wait out the weather.
Tip #4: Know That An Empty Freight Is More Dangerous
Truck driving in bad weather with a lot of cargo is hard enough but an empty freight raises the stakes. Unfortunately, one of the biggest risks for driving a semi in high winds is the possibility of the truck flipping over. When the top half of the semi (the cargo hold) is empty, it will be much more susceptible to that. If you know you’re going to be driving on empty, put in some special planning to accommodate for that.
Commercial truck driving requires skill, training, and knowledge in order to succeed in the industry. Whether it be teaching our drivers how to operate vehicles in certain weather conditions or helping them find employment, Truck Driver Academy covers all the bases. When you’re ready to start your truck driving career, call Truck Driver Academy!