Truckers face treacherous road conditions regularly over the course of a year, but winter and spring may be the seasons when these issues are most common. While bitterly cold weather and the risks that come with it are now safely in the rearview mirror, there's still more than a month of spring weather to navigate before summer arrives - and that includes rainy conditions.
With that in mind, the following tips should help you get through rainy weather as safely as possible:
1) You should always check the weather before a trip
The first and most important step to keeping yourself safe on the road is to know the expected conditions you'll be driving into, according to Schneider. Take the time to plan your trip, look at the weather for the regions you'll be driving through, and adjust your route, equipment or tactics accordingly.
2) Keep your lights on
One of the biggest keys to staying safe in any driving scenario is to make sure you're as visible as possible, Schneider advised. That's usually not a problem in a big rig, but in harsh conditions like rain and fog, it actually can be. For that reason, it's important to keep all your lights on (and of course make sure all bulbs are working) until the danger passes.
3) Take it slow
As a trucker, you shouldn't be exceeding the speed limit anyway, but that's especially true when it's raining, or even when roads are just wet, according to Pedigree Truck Sales. Slick surfaces make it more difficult to brake and other accompanying conditions will potentially increase the need to brake, so that's a bad combination. Driving under the speed limit in slick conditions is a great way to reduce that risk.
4) Distance yourself from traffic
While you may be driving as safely and carefully as possible, you just can't account for what other drivers will do, Pedigree Truck Sales cautioned. With that in mind, it's best to give them a wide berth whenever you can, leaving at least a few vehicles' worth of distance between yourself and the vehicles in front of you.
5) Make sure your driving tactics correspond with what you're hauling
One thing you certainly have to account for that other drivers do not is how your trailer should alter your driving approach, Pedigree Truck Sales further added. If you're running empty, you will need to use entirely different tactics behind the wheel versus if you have a full trailer. That's especially true if rainy conditions are accompanied by heavy winds.
6) Don't drive through standing or running water
While it may sometimes be unavoidable, you should strive to steer clear of puddles or water that's running through the street or highway in front of you, according to CDL.com. Simply put, you just never know what's under the surface, how deep the water is and so on - so it's better not to risk it.
7) Turn on your defrosters when appropriate
Another common problem when it gets rainy is that the windows inside your cab can fog up very easily, CDL.com noted. While it may be uncomfortable for you to tolerate the heat that comes with cranking up the defrosters, it's critical to see everything going on around you.
Find a job near you now.Search Jobs