As if truck driving wasn’t already demanding by itself, this job becomes even more challenging when faced with snow, ice, fog, and other weather conditions, your road safety can be at risk. Here we will discuss essential tips for truckers to safely navigate adverse weather conditions.
Understanding the Risks
Before we dive into the tips, let’s acknowledge the risks associated with driving in adverse weather. Poor visibility, slippery roads, and unpredictable conditions can lead to accidents. Recognizing these challenges is the first step to developing a proactive approach to safety.
Check the Weather Forecast
Stay ahead of the game by checking weather forecasts regularly. Specialized trucking weather apps can provide real-time updates specific to your route. Some apps, like MyRadar, can alert you of weather changes a couple of hours in advance. This is why it was included in the list of our favorite trucking apps, which you can check out here.
Inspect Your Truck Thoroughly
Before hitting the road, conduct a comprehensive inspection of your truck. Ensure that tires, brakes, lights, and windshield wipers are in optimal condition. For our detailed guide on how to do a PTI, you can click here.
Reduce Speed in Adverse Conditions
Slow down when faced with rain, snow, or fog. Reduced visibility and slippery roads require extra caution. Adjust your speed to match the road conditions.
Increase the Following Distance
Tailgating, or the act of driving too closely to the vehicle in front of you is dangerous on its own. In adverse weather, it takes longer to stop, so maintaining a larger following distance reduces the risk of rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions and other dangers of tailgating carry many risks with them, including brain and spine trauma. You can read our top five tips on handling tailgating here.
Use Headlights Effectively
Turn on your headlights in rain or fog, even during the day. This improves your visibility to other drivers and helps you see the road ahead more clearly.
Avoid sudden or hard braking. Apply brakes gently to prevent skidding. If your truck has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), trust it to do its job.
Stay Informed During the Journey
Stay connected to weather updates while on the road. Radio channels, weather apps, and CB radios can provide valuable information about changing weather patterns. CB radios can come in handy when you’d like to report traffic conditions such as congestion and accidents, among other things.
Be Mindful of Wind
High winds can be especially challenging for trucks. Be aware of wind conditions and adjust your driving accordingly, especially on open highways.
Plan for Delays
Adverse weather may lead to road closures or delays. Plan your route with alternative options and be prepared for unexpected changes.
As a professional truck driver, your commitment to safety is paramount. By following these tips and staying informed about weather conditions, you can navigate through adverse weather challenges with confidence.