Rainy Weather Safety Tips for Truckers: Navigating Wet Roads

Learn how to handle the toughest weather conditions with our rainy weather safety tips. Using these good practices will make you a better driver.

By

Jacob Lee
August 17, 2021
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Rainy weather safety tips for truckers are very helpful when it starts to storm. Driving in these conditions can be very dangerous due to slippery roads and poor visibility. Semis are also more likely to slide in these weather conditions. Therefore, following the right procedures is essential when it begins to pour. 

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), has the following rainy weather safety tips for truckers: 

  • A pre trip inspection
  • Slowing down
  • Leaving room between vehicles
  • Safely navigating skids
  • Avoiding moving water
  • Pulling over
  • Packing appropriately

Knowing how often a state experiences rain can also help truckers prepare for their journey.

We’ll take a deeper look into each tip, so  you’ll be able to travel through these adverse weather conditions with ease. 

A semi truck passing by a sign that says subject to flooding

Rainy Weather Safety Tips for Truckers: Why It Matters

Operating a semi can be very challenging for both experienced and inexperienced drivers. When it starts raining, it can be even more difficult for truckers to maintain control of their vehicle.

The dangers of trucking in the rain include:

  • Visibility issues
  • Sliding on wet roads
  • Hydroplaning 
  • Traffic 

Pouring rain make it extremely difficult to see the road ahead and any potential obstacles in the way. The rain hitting the windshield, coupled with the spray thrown up by other vehicles, can distort a driver’s view. This increases the likelihood of an accident.

Semis have plenty of momentum once they’re traveling at high speeds. In rainy weather, abruptly braking can cause a truck to slide. This is due to the momentum of the vehicle paired with the slickness of wet roads. The wetness of the ground can also cause hydroplaning issues for drivers as well. 

Finally, heavy traffic can increase in rainy conditions. Most vehicles will start to go slower than the posted speed limit. Therefore, truckers will need to adjust their speed to move with the flow of traffic.

Read our article on the OTR trucker lifestyle to determine if this career is right for you. 

A semi truck driving during a rainy night

What Are The Need-To-Know Rainy Weather Safety Tips For Truckers?

With so many challenges that rainy weather can present, maintaining safety is extremely difficult. Fortunately, there are a few tips that truckers can use to operate efficiently and carefully in when there’s heavy precipitation. 

Make Your Pre-Trip Inspection Thorough

The first tip for truck driving in the rain is to complete a pre-trip inspection. This is a good practice to follow, regardless of the weather. However, taking these precautions becomes even more important when a trucker knows they’ll be driving in the rain. Before embarking on a trip, drivers will need to check different areas of their vehicle

This includes:

  • Tire treads
  • Windshield wipers
  • Braking system
  • Headlights and taillights

When the roads are slick from rainy weather, it can be difficult for a semi to maintain traction. Therefore, drivers should make sure their treads are fresh to ensure they’ll have the best grip possible when it begins to rain. 

Windshield wipers are essential to maintaining visibility while driving in a storm. Drivers should make sure their blades are new and can swing back and forth in both directions. A semi must always have a good braking system. 

It’s important that a truck can come to an efficient stop before driving into stormy weather. Therefore, the brakes should be in peak condition before a journey can start. Finally, truckers should make sure their headlights and taillights work properly. This will help them be seen by other drivers on the road.  

Check out semi truck maintenance checklist to learn about the other important parts of the vehicle that should be checked. 

Slow Down

One of the most effective safety tips for truck driving in the rain is slowing down. Reducing speed gives drivers more time to react to dangers that can occur in this kind of weather. Wet and slippery roads increase the chances of a semi sliding if a trucker brakes suddenly.  

Slower driving speeds give drivers a chance to brake and come to a complete stop more efficiently. This practice might also be necessary when traffic begins to cluster due to rainy conditions. 

Leave Room Between Your Truck And Other Vehicles

The next tip truckers should follow is maintaining a safe driving distance from other vehicles. If there is ever a need to break abruptly, doing so will be more challenging on a wet driving surface. 

While it’s good to keep distance even when the roads are dry, drivers should increase this amount of space when it’s raining. Truckers that leave enough room between their truck and the vehicle ahead will have enough space to react to any dangers that occur.  

Know How To Respond To A Skid

While truckers should do their best to avoid skidding in rainy weather, it helps to know how to respond if it happens. The natural reaction for any driver is to panic. However, this is the worst way to respond if this occurs.

If a semi begins to skid in the rain, truckers should do the following:

  • Don’t slam on the brakes
  • Steer into the skid
  • Don’t overcorrect

When a semi begins to skid, the first thing a driver should do is remove their feet from the pedals. Slamming on the brakes can actually worsen the slide and cause truckers to lose further control of their vehicle.

It may sound counterintuitive, but steering into the skid is helpful. This means that truckers should turn gently in the direction the rear end of their vehicle is sliding. It’s important not to overcorrect when this happens, otherwise it can result in the semi skidding into another direction. 

Once a driver begins to gain control of their truck, they need to put pressure on the brakes as softly as possible until they have regained control or brought their vehicle to a safe stop. 

Need more tricks to stay safe on the road? Learn more from our post on truck driving training tips for experienced drivers.

Don’t Drive Through Moving Water

In the event of major rain that results in flooding,  truckers should avoid  driving through moving water. This can be extremely dangerous for a variety of different reasons. 

These include:

  • The power of moving water
  • Unknown  water depth
  • Possible hidden debris

The powerful flow of moving water on a roadway can cause a semi to hydroplane. This happens when a layer of water builds between the tires and the surface of the ground. The loss of traction makes it much easier for a trucker to lose control of their vehicle.  

Secondly, it’s hard to judge the depth of the water accurately. What looks like a shallow puddle might be deep enough to cause serious damage to a semi. Puddles that accumulate on the road can hide numerous hazards to the tires of a semi.

These include: 

  • Potholes
  • Debris
  • Washed-out sections of the road

Hitting these hidden obstacles could damage a vehicle and potentially lead to an accident. Anytime drivers face a body of water, the safest option is to avoid it at all costs. If that isn’t possible, then truckers should slow down considerably before driving through it. 

Pull Over When Necessary

Pulling over might not be an option that truckers want to take. Doing so can put them behind schedule and delay delivery times. That said, the safety of truckers and other drivers on the road is of the utmost importance. 

Stopping is always the safest option when weather conditions become too severe.  While pulling over on the side of the road is a viable option, truckers can choose to stop in a parking lot or a rest area. These locations are much safer for drivers to wait out the storm. 

Check out our article on hobbies for trucker drivers so you can have something to do during your downtime on the road. 

Make Sure You Have The Right Gear Ready

Most truck drivers commute across the country and are exposed to various weather conditions. Part of practicing proper rain safety for truckers includes bringing the right items on the road. Drivers should create a collection of essential gear for their travels that will help when bad weather strikes. 

This should include the following items: 

  • Blanket
  • Rain gear
  • Pair of gloves (or two)
  • Flashlight
  • Tire chains
  • Jumper cables

These items and equipment will keep drivers dry and help them out in case of emergency situations that can disrupt their journey. 

Our article on the most important truck driver essentials to get the items that you should put in your vehicle.

A semi truck driving out of a flooded road

Where Does It Rain Most In the U.S.?

The U.S. is a large country with many environments and climates. While rain occurs throughout every state, some experience more precipitation than others. We’ve provided some data on the five states that receive the most precipitation.

The Five Rainiest States (2022)

StateAmount of Rain In Inches
Mississippi59.44
Alabama57.86
Louisiana55.37
Tennessee54.77
Florida54.61

Provided by Statista

Operators passing through these states are more likely to encounter rain in than in other locations, especially during the summer. Therefore, drivers should prepare for stormy weather and use their safety tips for trucking in the rain. 

Need more safety tips? Check out our articles on driving at nightdriving on mountain roads, and driving in the summer!

Get Respect For Your Driving Skills With ABCO

Here at ABCO, we value the hard work that our drivers put forth. Trucking isn’t an easy career, and it takes a committed individual to perform this job. That’s why we’re dedicated to the well-being of our drivers. 

At ABCO, we offer competitive pay to every new trucker that joins our team. However, you might be eligible to earn more based on your experience. We also give our truckers the ability to pick a schedule that works best for them. This allows you to have a perfect balance between being on the road and spending time with friends and loved ones. 

Another perk that comes with working for ABCO is having the chance to vacation at one of our resorts throughout the country. Taking some time at one of these locations will give you the rejuvenation that you require. 

If you’re ready to take your trucking career to the next level, then fill out your ABCO job application. You can also call us at (866) 980-2710 to learn more about our company and other perks that come with joining our team.

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