Driving in bad weather is one of the most challenging obstacles faced by truck drivers. Many people just don’t drive in bad weather but truck drivers do not have that luxury. It is important for truck drivers to be alert and prepared when driving in bad weather. Following this guide for driving in bad weather will help keep everyone on the road safe.
Five Tips for Driving in Bad Weather
The weather is unpredictable so it is always important to prepare for any situation. Nothing is more stressful than driving in bad weather unprepared. Getting stuck in it is even worse. Plan carefully and frequently check weather updates. We’ve put a list of a few things to help you in case of bad weather.
- Proper clothing – extra layers, gloves, rain gear
- A flashlight
- A blanket, food and water
- A bag of sand or salt
- A windshield scraper
- Jumper cables
- Tire chains or traction mats
Conduct Pre-trip Inspection
Before heading out on the road, do a thorough check of your truck. That way, if something is wrong it can be fixed before hitting the road instead of during the trip. Complete a visual and hand on inspection before hitting the road. Follow our maintenance checklist to ensure nothing is missed.
Slow Down and Allow Extra Space
Many accidents happen because people are driving too fast on the road, especially during bad weather. It is important to expect the unexpected. Reduce your speed by one-third when driving on wet roads and reduce by half when driving on snow or ice. Allowing extra space can do nothing but help you in harsh weather situations.
Grip the Steering Wheel Firmly
It is very important to keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel when driving in bad weather. This helps keep the truck steady through heavy winds, ice and rough patches in the road.
Brake and Accelerate Gently
void making any sporadic or forceful movements in bad weather to avoid skidding. If you do need to slow down quickly, lightly pump the brakes. If your truck has an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), press and hold the brake as far down as possible. The ABS should prevent the brakes from locking and spinning out of control, allowing you to move around obstacles. However, it is important to not be overconfident.
Always brake gently to avoid skidding. If you do begin to skid, follow these tips:
- Quickly take your foot off the brake and switch to neutral.
- Steer in the direction you want to go.
- Shift to drive and press accelerator gently before the rear wheels stop skidding.
- Do NOT slam on the brakes!
Weather to Watch Out For
Driving in Wind
Wind may seem like a minor issue, but it is not a force to be reckoned with. Strong winds happen anywhere, but expect them more often in open spaces. Highway overpasses, tunnels, and road cuts in mountain areas are also causes for concern. They tend to act as a tunnel for strong winds. Following these tips will keep you safe when driving in heavy winds.
- Try to anticipate gusts
- Notice other (larger) vehicles
- Firmly grip wheel
Driving in Heavy Rain
There are several obstacles that come with rainy weather, like limited visibility, skidding and hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle is driving too fast in heavy rain. It causes the tires to travel on a layer of water instead of the surface of the road. Skidding occurs because of slick conditions, but many people don’t think about it in the rain. Remember the roads are the most slippery right after it starts to rain. The best ways to avoid problems while driving in the rain are:
- Take your time
- Turn lights on
- Allow extra space
Driving in Fog
Fog is one of the most dangerous weather hazards, especially when combined with other weather conditions. Driving in fog can be stressful so it is important to pay attention and take the necessary precautions. It is extremely important to keep your headlights on when driving in fog. Otherwise, you will be invisible to other drivers. It conditions are too bad, pull over and wait for it to pass. Here are some important tips to remember when driving in fog.
- Don’t speed
- Keep your headlights on
- Don’t use high beams
- Follow the lines of the road
Tom Morgan is the CEO of Truck-N-Trailer, a family owned and operated shop dedicated to providing the best medium and light duty delivery and work trucks, vans, and services to fit the individual needs of its customers nationwide. Tom has been in the truck and trailer industry for almost 50 years. Truck-N-Trailer has been providing its customers with outstanding service for 18 years. They take pride in being a “One Stop Shop.”