Safety & Spring Showers: Tips for Safely Driving Your Tractor-Trailer in the Rain
Post Date - Mar 1, 2023
As we head into spring, it’s time for a reminder of how driving a tractor-trailer in the rain can be tricky and challenging. But with a few extra precautions, you can stay safe while driving your truck in wet conditions. Here are some of NTB’s tips and advice for staying safe as you weather the weather when the rains come:
- Check out weather forecasts online, via radio or smart phone apps. Be particularly aware of the potential for flash flooding during heavy downpours or freezing conditions when temperatures dip down. Rain from the day before may have frozen overnight.
- Trip plan the entire route. Check DOT maps for possible road closures from flooding and be ready to take alternate routes.
- Make sure your lights and windshield wipers are working. During your pre- and post-trip inspections don’t forget to check that your wipers, defroster and headlights are in good working condition, and there is enough windshield washer fluid in the reservoir. Visibility diminishes during inclement weather. Increase your safety by turning on your lights. You want to see and be seen.
- Pack / Restock your emergency kit. You likely have an emergency kit in your truck but make sure it’s fully stocked and ready to go if you’re heading out into uncertain weather. Some items to include are:
- Extra food and water
- First aid kit
- Reflective gear such as a safety vest
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Hand and feet warmers
- Breaker bar
- Warning flag
- Jumper cables
- Wireless cell phone charger
- Slow down: This should go without saying but it’s important to drive at a slower speed than usual when on wet roads. Never hammer down in rainy conditions! According to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), 25 percent of speeding-related large-truck fatalities occur during adverse weather conditions so adjust your speed to the weather. That could mean a 20-plus mph speed reduction to maintain control!
- Increase following distance: The braking distance of your vehicle will be longer when on wet roads, so make sure to increase your following distance from other vehicles accordingly. As a rule of thumb, try to keep at least seven seconds between yourself and any vehicles ahead of you.
- Use extra caution when passing: Passing another vehicle on a wet road requires more time and care than normal due to reduced traction and possible slickness caused by pooled water or puddles on the road surface. Make sure that you assess the situation carefully before attempting any passing maneuvers and proceed with extra caution.
- Pay attention: It's also important to pay close attention to what's happening around you while driving on wet roads. Turn your phone to “do not disturb” before you begin driving and leave it out of reach from the driver’s seat. Get your GPS navigation set up. Situate any beverages or snacks. Set yourself up for maximum focus on the road.
By following these tips for safety when driving a big rig in the rain, you can ensure that both yourself and others remain safe during this type of weather condition - help spread awareness (and safety!) by being mindful of what’s going on around you!
At NTB, nothing is more important than the safety of our driving force. We want each of our truck drivers to get home safely to their loved ones. If you’re looking for a carrier that puts driver safety and satisfaction first, take a closer look at NTB Trucking. We’d love to connect with you and answer any questions!