Tips for Commercial Driving in Hard Rain

These tips are universal so you may already know them. If so, that’s fine, but we want to refresh your memory so you’ll be safe.

It’s the annual rainy season, time to review your driving skills for hauling in hard rain. Brushing up can never hurt. Before departing on a trip, start by reviewing your route and checking for weather alerts which may require you to change your route. Stow snacks and drinks near your seat for quick and easy access while driving.

Always take along spare windshield wipers. Hard rain wears out wipers when you’re trying to keep visibility. You can change a wiper in bad weather in the interest of health and safety for yourself and others.

Remove distractions like electronic devices which may affect your concentration. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” and put it and any other devices away from your seat. Devices are only to be used when you are not driving.

Climate change has caused us to endure torrential downpours, widespread flooding, and powerful winds with dangerous gusts. Remember these truths:
  • Make sure you have ample lubrication of the correct type on your truck’s fifth wheel plate. Rain water washes away the grease on your plate. Running with a dry plate is dangerous as it keeps the tractor and trailer from pivoting on curves and corners, effectively causing the trailer to steer your rig and making handling difficult. Carry extra lube just in case.
  • Severe thunderstorms come with strong winds that have the power to cause a rollover crash if your trailer is empty or loaded light. Dry van trailers and reefers have high sides that catch a great deal of wind. It can be a hazard even with a heavy load as it causes handling problems. Slow down to keep your vehicle under control in strong winds.
  • Keep a lookout for puddles on the road ahead. If you see one, slow down to avoid hydroplaning that could cause you to lose control even with a heavy load. Caution and skill must be used to navigate wet roads.
  • Extend your following distance. Commercial transport vehicles need more stopping distance on wet roads to keep from losing control. Unpredictable events frequently happen on the road ahead that require evasive measures to prevent a crash.
  • Leave your cruise control and engine brake off. Such technological advances may rob you of road feel on wet roads.
  • No running hammer down in poor weather. Shippers and receivers know that loads are delayed when driving conditions are bad.  Choose a safe speed below the limit, run it and don’t risk a life, yours or someone else’s.
  • Never drive in any weather without your seatbelt buckled. Never take a chance. Seatbelts save lives. Yours could be the next saved.
  • Keep all your lights on night or day so others in your vicinity know you are there.
  • Drive with your radio on to catch weather updates in order to make changes to your route to stay out of harm’s way.
  • If driving conditions deteriorate beyond what you feel safe, park your truck until conditions improve. Get off the motorway and find a safe place to park and destress. Take a well-deserved rest period.
We hope these tips and techniques serve to freshen your mind and work to keep you healthy, safe and get you home intact and happy. Always motor with care.
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