Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to prepare for seasonally wet weather.
Driving on rainy roads isn’t as challenging as driving on ice, but there’s still room for error. Taking the time to make sure your rig is adequately prepared can provide peace of mind and significantly lower the risk of an accident. Here are four recommendations to get you started:
1.) Research your trip beforehand. The night before your next trip set aside at least 30 minutes to review the route. Don’t just briefly scan a map. Really take the time to investigate the terrain, altitude, and lay of the land. In addition, see what the weather’s like. Specifically, look for unusual weather events like blizzards, flash flooding, or extreme heat. Knowing about these challenges in advance can help you stay safe once you’re behind the wheel.
2.) Check your tires. Your semi’s tires are responsible for carrying the weight of the entire truck. Before leaving the depot, do a thorough inspection of each, looking for potential issues like:
- Cracking or cuts in the sidewalls
- Uneven tread wear
- Bulges or blisters
If you notice any of these issues, stop everything and replace the tire immediately.
Make sure to check the air pressure, too. If the PSI is too high or too low, your tires won’t grip the road as well, which obviously isn’t good in wet and rainy conditions.
3.) Don’t be afraid to take a time out. You know your truck better than anyone else. You understand how it performs in various conditions and you know when it’s working too hard. Use this knowledge when you’re driving in bad weather. If it’s difficult to see or you feel the truck fish-tailing, pull over. It’s much better to be safe and lose some time than it is to try and push through and hurt yourself or your cargo.
4.) Pack an extra pair of windshield wipers. Did you know that you should change your windshield wipers every 6-12 months? That might seem like a quick turnover, but it makes sense. Windshield wiper blades are made of rubber which wears down quickly. Having a back-up pair in your toolbox or semi cab can come in handy, especially if you encounter a major storm.
5.) Follow the posted speed limit. As a truck driver, you know this better than anyone. When transporting hundreds or even thousands of pounds of cargo, it’s best to take your foot off the gas. You might not get to your destination as quickly, but you will arrive in one piece.
Do you have any other tips for driving in the rain? If so, we’d love to hear them. Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment.