Sudden downpours of rain can cause significant driving issues for truck drivers. This means that all drivers, but especially those operating heavy semi-trucks, need to be especially mindful of how to alter their driving to remain safe during heavy rainstorms. After all, the sudden onset of a heavy storm and torrential rain often come along with strong winds that can be especially dangerous for tractor-trailers. If a trailer happens to be empty, this risk can be even more dangerous due to the risk of rollover. Thankfully, the following are some helpful tips for truck driving in heavy rain that will keep you safe:
Safe Truck Driving in Rainy Conditions: Tips and Strategies
- Slow Down: It’s pretty self-explanatory but when you are facing the barrage of heavy rains that limit your visibility and can cause your truck to sway back and forth in the winds, it’s especially important to maintain a safe speed by slowing down. Your speed should always match the weather conditions, no matter what the speed limit signs might say. You need even more stopping distance with wet roadways, so make sure you put some distance in between you and other vehicles.
- Turn Off Engine Brakes and Cruise Control: While these are helpful features when you are driving along on dry roadways, engine breaks and cruise control aren’t as helpful when facing wet roads. In fact, traction loss is a common problem when it comes to wet roads, so to prevent your risk of hydroplaning or a skid due to wet conditions, avoid the use of engine brakes also known as jake brakes.
- Keep Your Lights On: No matter if it’s daytime or nighttime, if you find yourself in the midst of a rainstorm, make sure that your lights are on. This allows others to see you even when visibility is low due to bad weather.
- Be Watchful For Standing Water: Rainstorms, especially heavy ones that come on suddenly, can wash out roads and leave standing water. Therefore, when driving in a rainstorm or even through a location where one has just passed, you want to make sure that you watch the roadway for standing water, debris, washed-out roads, and the like and avoid these dangers.
- Eliminate Distractions: It is always important to remain ultra-focused on the roadway when driving. However, it is especially true when you are driving in inclement weather. Make sure your radio is turned down, your GPS is set and everything is in order within your cab to prevent any unnecessary distractions.
- Know When it’s Time to Pull Over: In some cases, visibility gets so low that conditions deteriorate beyond the point of operating your rig safely. Therefore, if you feel the weather has caused enough problems that it is unsafe for you to continue driving, it’s time to pull over.
Preparing for Inclement Weather
Part of staying safe on wet roadways begins before you find yourself in a rainstorm. Make sure to keep up with all necessary truck maintenance tasks, including checking the condition of your tires, keeping your windows clean, ensuring that your wipers are functioning properly, verifying that your brakes are in good working order, and having an emergency kit on board. It is also essential to stay informed about weather conditions along your planned route, as this will allow you to adjust your route if necessary and avoid any dangerous situations.