by Pride Transport | Jul 11, 2020
“When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads …” Rain, The Beatles
Wouldn’t it be nice to look out the window, see the heavy rain and adjust to hide your head under the pillow? Sure, would. But, as a truck driver, you just don’t have that option. Rain or shine, you’re on the road, keeping this country supplied.
But, driving in heavy rain isn’t the same as trucking through a sunny day. It takes a little more concentration and it’s a whole lot more dangerous. So, as our never-ending goal of keeping our drivers safe and the loads delivered, we offer these one dozen tips to stay safe when driving in the heavy rain.
Check the weather
Before you head out, take five minutes, and listen to the weather, get online and see what the weather is on your route. Be aware of what you’re heading into so that you’re not taken by surprise. Knowing before you go is going to save you stress and a possible accident.
Check the route
Same as the weather, check maps, listen to the news, find out if the rain has caused any kind of road closures or reroutes. Know what you’re heading into so that you can plan ahead. It’s better to change routes at the start of a run than be forced to do it mid-run when you’re unprepared.
Pre-trip like crazy
You already run a careful pre-trip but, if it’s raining hard or you know you’re going to hit heavy rain along the way, take extra time and care with your pre-trip regimen. Also, don’t deflate your tires to gain traction, your tires are at their optimal performance level when they are fully inflated.
Pack for the weather
It may be sunny and 70 where you are at the start of your run, but, 5 hours into it, there’s going to be monsoon-like conditions, pack for that. Make sure you have the proper gear for the weather you’re driving into. Always prepare for what’s ahead.
You gotta wear it and you do. Just make extra sure you’re wearing it in the heavy rain. Get there safe and get home safe too.
Keep your lights on
You want to be able to see those who are on the road with you but, you also want to be courteous and let them see you. A big rig suddenly appearing out of the rain can be terrifying for someone driving one of those toy cars. Give ‘em a break and let them know you’re out there by keeping your lights on.
Keep the volume low
Radio, stereo, book on tape, whatever you’re listening to, keep the volume low. You can still get alerts or listen to weather reports but, loud music or talk distracts your brain just enough to take seconds off your response time. Keep the volume low and keep distractions at bay.
Change speeds gradually
Accelerate and decelerate slower than you would normally. This is going to prevent loss of traction. Heavy rain is going to reduce traction very quickly. Scientifically, a ½ inch of water forces tires to displace a gallon of water every second to retain traction. Go gently.
Never drive into water over a roadway
Turn around, you don’t want to drown. Even a small amount of moving water can wash a vehicle away. And, water obscures your ability to spot hazards. The road under the water could be seriously compromised. Don’t risk it, stay away.
Drive slower than usual
Sometimes the safest speed is lower than one that’s posted. Adjust your speed according to the weather. Here’s a good rule of thumb, take 5 miles per hour off your speed in any of these conditions:
According to FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), 25% of large truck speed-related fatalities occur during adverse weather. Keep that in mind and slow down.
Increase following distance
Most drivers stick to the rule of seven seconds of following distance in the best conditions. Heavy rain, that’s not the best conditions. So, it naturally makes sense to increase that when in heavy rain. Do it, give yourself and your fellow drivers a little extra room to allow for the unexpected.
Do not use cruise control or engine brake
Cruise control obstructs your feel for the road and it may keep you from sensing when you’re hydroplaning. And, your Jake brake on wet and slippery roads could result in a loss of traction. So, stay away from both in the heavy rain.
There you go, an even dozen of ideas that will keep you and those who are on the road with you safe in heavy rain. Stay alert, stay safe and get home in one piece, you’ve got people counting on you.
“When the sun shines, they skip into the shade …” Rain, The Beatles