While the April showers you likely saw on the road last month are all but over, and May flowers are just starting to bloom, truckers still have to be careful about driving on rainy days. In fact, wet roads present a potentially serious hazard for pro haulers even after showers have ended, and safely navigating them requires extra caution.
The following tips should help you avoid any problems even on the days when it's raining the hardest:
1) Don't get distracted
Distracted driving is a bad idea even on days with ideal weather, but when the weather is less than perfect, it's critical to keep two hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road, according to America Truck Driving School. When you encounter wet roads, you have to focus solely on the task at hand; not even to check the GPS or fiddle with the radio.
2) Back off from other traffic
Even in the best of times, you can't always account for other drivers' behavior, and these are not the best of times, America Truck Driving School cautioned. As such, give everyone else on the road a wide berth whenever possible, so any mistakes they make are less likely to affect you.
3) Slow down
Truckers shouldn't be speed demons on the highway to begin with, but when roads are wet, it's better to slow down even more, America Truck Driving School noted. Driving 5-10 miles per hour below the speed limit will be advisable here.
4) Turn off cruise control
You likely rely on cruise control quite a bit in many conditions, but this shouldn't be one of them, according to CDL.com. If you're using it when you hit a puddle or running water, your chances of hydroplaning increase dramatically.
5) Try not to drive through visibly deep water
Along similar lines, if you see a puddle or large amount of running water, you should try to get around it if you can, CDL.com said. Simply put, you will have no way to know how deep it is or what it might be concealing that could pose a more serious hazard for your truck.
6) Plan your entire trip
You likely check the forecast for the coming day as you progress through a trip, but better planning reduces weather risks, according to Schneider. Look at where you expect to be at the end of every day on your trip, and then check the projections for that time. That will help you stay ahead of the game even if the weather itself is unavoidable.
7) Light it up
Especially while it's still raining, it's vitally important that all appropriate lights on your truck are turned on, Schneider added. You need to be as visible as possible for the benefit of others around you, just to reduce the risk that someone needs to make a careful driving decision.
8) Don't accelerate or brake too hard
You may have to make some snap decisions when traffic problems arise, but do what you can to avoid jamming on your pedals, Schneider further advised. The reason why is simple: Both will increase your risk of losing traction and, therefore, control of your big rig.
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