Have you ever driven behind a truck in high winds that just seemed too wobbly and appeared as if it is going to tip over every second? Bad weather conditions can seriously affect any trucker’s ability to safely navigate the road they are on. And while the majority of drivers know how to properly prepare for rain, snow and even icy roads, not all are familiar with proper precautions when strong winds are concerned.
High winds can cause some serious issues on the road. On top of that, they can endanger not only the truck driver in question but other traffic participants as well. The reason behind this is that the trailer of the truck itself may actually act like a sail, easily catching the wind, which may lead to the driver losing control over the vehicle. As dangerous and potentially hazardous as this may be, there are still some things you can do to ensure safety.
Check the weather
It is a common practice among truck drivers to always check the weather conditions before they hit the road. When any type of truck transport is concerned, the driver should always try and prepare in advance for any weather conditions they may be faced with on the road. This way they will ensure that they are well prepared in advance which will minimize the risk of any unexpected accidents. High winds – on their own – may pose a serious safety risk but they can also commonly be followed by other unfavorable conditions, such as rain or even snow.
Prepare your truck
The next thing a truck driver must ensure is that their truck – and cargo – is ready for the road. Check your lights to see if everything is in order. Secure all of your cargo so that nothing gets loose or damaged during the transport. Additionally, make sure all of your doors are shut and locked tight. Wind can sometimes be so strong that it can swing open doors that are not properly secured. This could make even the most experienced drivers lose control over their vehicle, which is certainly something you need to avoid. So, make sure you do a thorough once-over of your truck before you get behind the wheel.
Mind your load
As mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that all of your load is properly secured. This applies in any situation, and not just when you are expecting poor weather conditions. Additionally, pay extra attention if you are driving an empty truck. A truck that still doesn’t carry any load or is very lightly loaded will generally weigh far less than a full truck. Needless to say, lighter trucks will be far more affected by high winds as they won’t carry additional load that makes them sturdier. What’s more, empty trailers can be affected even by the slightest gusts of wind, which is also something you need to keep in mind.
When driving in such poor weather conditions, you need to make sure you stay on high alert at all times. Mind the road signs and speed limits. If there are no wind indicators on the road, try to be aware of your surroundings more. Look at the grass and trees surrounding the road and see what’s happening with them. If these natural wind indicators look like they’re being heavily affected by the wind, you don’t really need to look for other hints. On top of that, keep in mind that the majority of roads will have a certain speed limit you’ll need to obey. But even though you’re not allowed to drive over the speed limit, there’s nothing stopping you from slowing down a bit if you don’t feel comfortable or safe driving at a certain speed.
Learn proper driving techniques
In the end, with time comes experience, and with experience various truck drivers will develop their own set of techniques that will help them stay safe on the road in various weather conditions. So, don’t shy away from asking some of your more experienced colleagues for input. By learning more about other people’s experiences and getting as much additional input as you can, you will significantly increase your overall road safety.
Road safety should always be a top priority of any traffic participants. Practicing safety measures, reading and respecting the road signs and making sure you prepare accordingly for any weather conditions you may be faced with is the best way to ensure that you stay safe while on the road.