Challenging weather can cause all kinds of issues when transporting freight. In fact, weather is responsible for nearly one-fourth of all truck delays. Weather conditions can also make roads more hazardous and it’s important for drivers to be aware of how to stay safe. Learn how to plan for the weather when trucking in our blog below.
Planning For All Types of Weather
Inclement weather conditions can lead to dangerous road conditions, power outages, and capacity limitations, so it is essential to prepare for all types of conditions, including rain, snow, wind, fog, and extreme temperatures.
Nearly half of the 25% of trucking accidents caused by weather occur when it’s raining. Rain decreases visibility and increases the potential of hydroplaning, creating one of the most dangerous bad-weather trucking combinations. Practicing safe driving techniques, such as slowing down, can help truck drivers stay safe during a storm. If the rain impacts your visibility, you may have to pull off to the side of the road until it passes.
Snow and ice also have an impact on trucking mobility. If you expect to drive through the snow along your route, come prepared with the right gear, such as tire chains, to ensure safe travel. Every driver should also equip themselves with an emergency safety kit with items like a reflective vest, extra warm clothing, and nonperishable food and water. Additionally, give yourself extra stopping distance when driving in snowy or icy weather, and avoid quick, sharp turns. As with rainy conditions, don’t hesitate to stop and wait for it to pass.
High winds cause dangerous driving conditions for truckers by blowing obstructions into the road and impacting a rig’s stability. If you are driving in high crosswinds, find a safe place to stop, ideally facing the wind head-on to minimize the risk of flipping. Fog also has unique challenges for truckers, causing decreased visibility. If your visibility declines, pull onto the shoulder of an off-ramp to wait it out. Avoid stopping on the side of the road if possible, as your tail lights may confuse traffic behind you.
Extreme cold or warm temperatures can affect cargo quality, driver capabilities, and vehicle performance, so drivers must prepare for these conditions as well.
Driving in cold weather can damage a truck’s internal workings, forcing the engine and its parts to push harder than they’re designed to. To prevent this, start and run your rig for 15 minutes before driving. Running the engine allows it time to warm up the oil, fuel, and other fluids so they can move freely through the system. Extreme cold also leads to low tire pressure, so keep a gauge on hand and check your tire pressure regularly.
Warm weather can have just as much of a negative impact on a semi-truck as cold weather. Hot road surfaces can compromise tire performance or cause engine failure. Drivers and cargo can also face some consequences in high temperatures, even in an air-conditioned cab or refrigerated truck, so it is vital to slow down and take regular breaks to mitigate the effects of the heat. Try to park during the hottest part of the day, continuing your trip in the evening when the temperature cools.
Drive With the Best at DSW
Employer support is crucial when facing unexpected weather as a trucker. At DSW, our management is composed of former drivers that understand what life on the road is like. When you choose to drive with the best, we will work as hard for you as you work for us.