Spring is here and, in many parts of the country, it's a time when weather conditions can get bad in a hurry. One of the big risks many professional truck drivers face at this time of year is related to heavy rains and flooding, which can leave them stranded or put them in grave danger, often with little or no warning.
With that in mind, here are six tips that could help truckers stay safe when flooding and heavy rain threatens their vehicles and routes:
1) Keep it slow and steady
While driving at a reasonable speed is always advised when weather takes a turn, when there's flooding risk, the need becomes even greater, according to Planet Freight. Every puddle you encounter could be a lot deeper than it appears, and if there's water running across the roadway, the current might be stronger than you expect. As long as you're driving through any standing or running water slowly, you'll be in good shape to stay on course.
2) Make sure you're keeping your brakes dry
When you go through water deep enough to come up to your hubcaps, the risk of having wet brakes increases sharply, Planet Freight added. To dry them off, you'll just need to use them a bit when you find dry roads, but make sure you have plenty of space and it's a long, flat stretch. Otherwise, you could increase your risk of an accident.
3) Look at reference points
Unfortunately, it's not always easy to estimate the depth of standing or running water, but if there are other vehicles on the road also going through it, that should serve as a handy visual guide, according to Len Dubois Trucking. Likewise, it's best to keep an eye on other items that may be in the roadway, such as floating logs, that could impact your path.
4) Never panic
If you find yourself in a particularly dicey situation, it's vital that you keep your wits about you, Len Dubois Trucking noted. If you start to panic, you're more likely to make risky decisions that seem like a good idea but could further imperil you, your big rig or other motorists.
5) Have the right gear on hand
If you have to go out in dangerous conditions, it's vital that you pack everything you'll need to keep yourself and your vehicle in good shape, according to Simon's Trucking. That might be as simple as bringing a raincoat and galoshes, but it might also require you to bring some nonperishable food, flares and so on just in case you get stuck.
6) Make the right call
Sometimes, the safest way to drive through a risky flood area is to not do it at all, Simon's Trucking advised. If you find conditions worsening or local weather reports indicate that conditions are dangerous, it might be wiser to pull over in a safe area or remain parked rather than continue on.
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