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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
These items and equipment will keep drivers dry and help them out in case of emergency situations that can disrupt their journey.
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.
|State||Amount of Rain In Inches|
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.
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