7 Tips for Truck Driving in the Rain
April showers bring May flowers, but they also increase dangers to truck drivers. Driving in the rain, truckers need to be extra attentive and careful. Here are a few tips for driving safely in the rain.
Eliminate distractions before you turn on the truck.
Before you turn the key, put your phone on silent or set it to “do not disturb”. Set up your navigation system and place your phone out of reach, that way you’re not tempted to check text messages. Place your drinks and snacks within easy reach and get ready to give the road your full attention.
Keep the radio on with low volume.
The radio shouldn’t be so loud that you can’t hear what’s going on around you (such as emergency vehicles coming up behind you). Pay attention to weather updates and alerts on driving conditions, but don’t lose focus.
Take more time to accelerate or decelerate.
When you’re driving in the rain, you’ll need more time to accelerate and decelerate. To maintain control of the truck you may need to reduce speeds by at least 5 mph if you’re facing bad weather conditions or a curve in the road. You’ll also need to slow down if you’re driving in heavy traffic or pulling a light trailer.
Increase your following distance.
A good rule of thumb is to have about seven seconds of following distance in good conditions, and more in rainy conditions.
Drive slower than the posted speed limit.
When you’re driving a passenger vehicle, going slightly over the speed limit is usually not a big deal. But when you’re driving an 18-wheeler — especially in wet conditions — a few miles over the speed limit could lead to an accident. So drive under the posted speed limit and ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers.
Don’t use cruise control or the engine brake.
Driving on cruise control during wet conditions will keep you from sensing if the truck is hydroplaning. Using your engine brake could lead to loss of traction.
Get off the road if the conditions get too severe.
In certain situations, no amount of experience will help you stay safe. So if you’re feeling unsafe on the road, pull into a parking lot and wait until conditions improve. Your safety is not worth the risk.