7 Tips on Driving a Semi in High Winds
Driving a semi truck can be dangerous for a lot of reasons, weather being one of the top ones. While many people consider snow and ice the least ideal driving conditions, driving a semi in high winds is just as dangerous, if not more.
If you do encounter high winds while out on the road in your truck, it’s important to be prepared. Follow these essential tips to ensure you safely navigate through windy conditions in your semi truck, as well as review the DOT wind restrictions to be extra cautious in high winds.
Check the Weather
The first thing you should do before driving a semi truck in wind, is check the weather. You want to look out for how frequently the wind is blowing as well as the speed of the gusts. Random gusts are really the most dangerous part of driving in high winds because they can catch you off guard and be significantly stronger than the constant wind.
If you’re unsure what wind speed is dangerous for semi trucks, check out this wind chart for semi trucks that a driver posted. Let’s say you’re about to start driving in 20 mph wind in your semi. You can determine if it’s safe to drive by also considering the speed of the gusts as well as the weight of your load.
Know Your Load Size
In order to use the chart we linked above, you will need to know how much weight you’re carrying. This is important to know before you head out on any route, but it’s especially important in high winds. As a general rule of thumb, the lighter the load is, the more at risk you are while driving a semi in high winds.
Secure All Doors
During your pre-trip inspection, be sure to pay close attention to all doors and anything that may be hanging loose. You’ll want to ensure all doors are closed and tightly secured. Any items that are loose or have the potential to come loose should also be tied down and secured.
Consider Your Surroundings
Remember that certain areas are more susceptible to gusts of winds. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions when crossing bridges or narrow roads. If a given route is known to give truck drivers problems in bad weather, it may be best to consider taking an alternative route, rather than trying to power through.
Pay Close Attention
As is important whenever you’re driving a semi truck, be sure to pay close attention to signage, conditions, and other drivers on the road. Winds can change quickly, and other drivers on the road may not be aware of the change in conditions – which can lead to dangerous conditions both from the weather and the other drivers. That said, paying extra attention can be the difference between avoiding or being involved in an accident. Be vigilant to protect yourself and others.
Maintain a Firm Grip
Large gusts can pull your steering wheel and, in turn, your truck right with it. Keep a tight grip on your steering wheel and look for signs of a big gust to anticipate those pulls when possible.
Pull Over When Necessary
If conditions change while you’re on the road, which is quite common, it may be time to pull over and stop until the winds die down. Driving through unsafe conditions is almost never worth the risk. Trust your gut, but just know that you should never underestimate high winds. And above all else, when truck driving in bad weather – drive safely!