March is notorious for high winds, and this year the month arrived with quite a gust in the northeastern United States. A storm now known as the “Bomb Cyclone” of 2018 brought with it strong winds, rain, snow and wreaked havoc on the region. And another storm is on its way, the Weather Channel warns. During the “Bomb Cyclone,” Media covered stories of trees falling, millions of people without power and semi-trucks blowing over from the force of the wind. With windy weather upon us, it’s important to remember why driving a semi in high winds is dangerous, and how you can do so safer. Here’s how you can navigate a windy weather forecast.
Reasons Why Driving a Semi in High Winds is Dangerous
There are all kinds of bad weather that truckers encounter, but some would argue that high wind is the most dangerous of it all. Semi-trucks, simply because of the height and long flat sides of their trailers, essentially become sails in windy weather. The wind can easily catch and pull trailers, causing the entire truck to overturn. Driving a semi in high winds is especially dangerous for new drivers unfamiliar with the truck, as well as those driving trucks that have a light or no load. It’s important to be familiar with how to drive during windy weather so that you can ensure your safety, as well as the safety of others. Check out these five tips for driving a semi in high winds.
Five Tips for Driving a Semi in High Winds
1. Check the weather
First things first. Check the weather before your trip so you know ahead of time what to expect. Are they calling for high winds, and what other weather will blow in with it? High winds by themselves are one thing, but they usually indicate that other weather is on its way, whether that be tornados, hurricanes, or blizzards.
2. Prepare your truck
The second thing you want to do is prepare your truck. Make sure that all of your cargo is secure and that your doors are locked tight. The last thing you want to happen while driving a semi in high winds is for doors to fly open or cargo to get damaged during the trip.
3. Consider your load size
If you’re driving with a light load, keep in mind this will be easier to blow over than a heavy load. Depending on your truck and load size, you may want to consider rescheduling your delivery (if possible) in order to stay safe.
4. Pay attention
When driving a semi in high winds, pay attention. If you see that road signs are moving more, that means the wind is picking up. Keep both hands on the wheel and watch out for other drivers who aren’t paying attention. In addition, consider your route. If there are lots of bridges, this can make high winds even more of a threat to your safety.
5. Know your technique
Lastly, you want to know your technique for driving a semi in high winds. It’s important to have a firm grip on your steering wheel, as the truck is going to pull the direction the wind is blowing. Also, you should reduce your speed and turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers. It is also a good idea to stay in the right lane. Not everyone is going to be driving cautiously in the wind, so stay out of their way. By remaining in the right lane, people who are driving fast can get past you. To learn more about technique while driving in high winds, check out this YouTube video by Cory Draper. The footage shows him driving through intense 65 MPH winds in Wyoming. He shares his tips, tricks, and experience in this high wind scenario.
Do you have any additional tips or tricks for driving a semi in high winds? Share with us in the comments below!