Truck driving can be a real test of one’s patience. Throw in bad weather and the situation becomes worse. The old saying that the “mail must get through” still holds true for truck drivers, however, that is always going to be based on whether or not that ‘getting through’ can be done safely. For experienced drivers, bad weather is not a big issue – they know their limitations so they know when to pull over, and they know when it’s safe to drive through it all.
What about inexperienced drivers? Hopefully this post will help you out.
Know Your Truck Driving Limitations
The key to driving a truck at any time is to know your limitations. In bad weather, it can often be a case of safety first. If you’re not comfortable in the conditions, pull over and wait until the weather eases a little.
At the same time, you will need to learn how to handle various conditions so that you can push through rather than pulling over every time there’s a hint of rain.
Knowing your limitations goes hand in hand with having a vehicle that is safe to proceed through bad weather. This includes ensuring your windscreen wipers are always fully functional, your headlights are working well, and that your tires still have plenty of tread. If your vehicle is up to scratch, the rest comes down to your driving skills, and how much caution you take.
Guard Your Visibility
So what should you look out for? The first is visibility. If it is raining hard enough that visibility is greatly affected, pull over and wait until the rain has eased. The same goes for snow. If you decide to carry on, turn your headlights on, slow down considerably, and make sure there is plenty of room between your truck and any vehicles ahead of you – it takes much longer to come to a stop in an emergency if the road is wet. You should also be looking at water on the road. Is it moving quickly from one side to the other, or perhaps even down the road?
Aquaplaning can be an issue if there is a lot of water on the road, more so if that water is moving quickly. Be on the lookout for puddles of water – they can hide deep potholes in the road.
Finally, watch water levels, particularly around creeks and rivers. If there is water across the road, look for flood depth indicators. If there are none proceed with extreme caution.
How To Handle Severe Weather Conditions
Wind and snow can also create problems, so take care. For severe weather conditions, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, either leave the area as quickly as possible or seek cover where both you and the truck are safe. At the end of the day, if the conditions are extreme, you’re life takes precedence over your truck, so find cover to protect yourself.
Truck driver training will address these issues, however, it’s very difficult to replicate them in a training environment, so you will need to take everything on board during training. Once you’re on the road, you’re on your own, and you’ll have to make all the decisions – just make the right ones and you’ll be safe.