Driving in bad weather translates to driving through fog, driving in the thick of rains, or through sandstorms. Some of these bad weather conditions mean slippery roads and low visibility. Bad weather can cause delays, inconvenience, and major accidents that may be fatal.
Pile-up accidents are common on the roads during such weather conditions. The vehicles collide with those in front of them mainly because of the high speed of the vehicle and due to lack of proper attention on the part of the drivers.
We have gleaned a few points that truck drivers can keep in mind when negotiating low visibility during such winter weather conditions.
Smart Weather Tips for Truck Drivers
If you are a professional truck driver, you must become familiar with weather patterns in areas that you usually cover. The suggestions listed below can help you plan ahead and stay safe.
1: Inspect your vehicle beforehand
It is important to get your truck prepared for the winter weather well ahead. Ensure that you check the engine oil and tire pressure before you take on your trip. Get a good mechanic to inspect your vehicle and ensure that it can withstand the harsh weather ahead.
2: Slow down
In a majority of cases, accidents happen when the speeds are not adjusted to the bad weather condition. Going slow gives you a little more time to adjust and react if something goes wrong.
In the rains, slow down your vehicle speed to avoid aquaplaning.
3: Stay in your lane
When the visibility is bad, ensure that you do not drift and stay put in your lane. You may have to overcome a natural tendency to drift into the middle of the road. It is a good idea to use the right edge of the road as a guide.
This will help you to avoid oncoming traffic and headlights. You can also sensitize your car passengers to look out for oncoming vehicles or other obstacles on the road.
4: Maintain extra spacing
It is wise to consider longer braking distances when the weather is bad or visibility is low. You can do better with extra spacing when the road is slippery due to the rain. This will surely save you in the most unpredictable situations.
5: Turn on the lights
Inclement weather always means low visibility. Therefore, turn on the low-beam headlights and the front and rear fog lights as required. Other drivers can see you better and maintain safe distances from your vehicle.
6: Pullover if in doubt
If the weather conditions are too bad to contend with, it is best to pull over to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights to let other drivers know where you are.
Do not worry about your schedule and find a safe spot to park your car and wait until the weather gets better. You can even pull into petrol stations.
7: Listen to the local weather updates regularly
It is a good idea to listen to the local weather updates on the radio on a regular basis if you are a trucker. You can then plan your trip properly and leave early enough if required.
If possible, you can even try not to be on the road at all. It is best to stay away from those areas that are regularly affected by bad winter weather.
You can now download weather apps onto your smartphone. You can choose to keep the most accurate one. You can refuse to drive the truck in case of bad weather. Safety should be your number one priority.
8: Dust storms can be deadly
Dust storms can be very dangerous even to professional truckers. Sand storms are pretty hard to predict. In case you are caught in the midst of one, it is best to pull over your vehicle to one side and wait for it to subside.
Severe sandstorms may enforce authorities to close down the roads and there is no choice anyway. You should keep the windows of your truck tightly closed and wait for it to pass.
9: Beware of the intense cold
Ensure that your truck’s engine is up to it in the intense cold. They sometimes do not start when the temperatures are down. Some truck drivers keep the engine on high idle so that there is no problem when starting the vehicle.
10: Winter fogs are dangerous too
A thin and patchy fog during winter can be managed by truck drivers. However, it is a challenge to drive through dense fog patches. The most important factor while driving through fog is the range of visibility.
If the visibility keeps on decreasing, it is important to find a safe spot to park the truck. It is very important to turn on your flashing lights and turn off your tail lights if you get off the road to park your truck.
11: Keep your different systems checked beforehand
Keep your coolant levels topped up. Coolants expand as they freeze and this can damage the engine block.
Check the battery for sufficient voltage. It is more difficult to start your truck during winters than during warmer periods.
Check your windshield reservoir levels before the winter and fill it up with high-quality fluid. Keep some extra with you on hand.
Keep your hazard and fog lights checked as winter brings low-visibility conditions frequently. With modern cars averaging speeds of over 100 km in an hour, it is important to alert these other cars during low visibility road conditions.
Get your truck’s spark plug, belts, water pumps, belts, and hoses checked to drive through the winter without any major unpleasant events.
Keep your truck fully serviced at the start of the winter season.
Ensure that your vehicle is covered by a comprehensive insurance plan to manage any unforeseen incident that may happen.
In addition to all of these safety measures, ensure that you keep off the mobile for texting or other purposes while driving. Carry a couple of blankets to keep yourself warm when you are parked. Following these instructions can keep you safe and happy while driving.