It’s almost a certainty that you’ll eventually be faced with trucking in bad weather. The scenario will most likely look like this. As you race against the clock, that winter sprinkle of flurries and rain will quickly turn into a full blizzard brought to you by Mother Nature.
This leaves you with two options: Do you pull over to the side of the road as an attempt to wait out the storm, and risk missing your deadline? Or, do you opt to take your chances on the road, despite the inclement weather? Research shows that bad weather costs the trucking industry $3.8 million annually, but is it really worth the cost of your life?
A Tough Decision
It can be tough balancing the duties of work, with personal safety while on the road. Truckers pride themselves on being able to get the job done no matter what obstacle is in his or her way. However, risking your life for the sake of a delivery is not very smart. Trucking in bad weather puts not only you at risk but also any other vehicle on the road as well. The average truck accident costs about $62,000, so it’s not really worth risking your life, or all of that money just for one trip.
So how do we know when the weather creates too much of a risk? Here are three things to keep in mind:
One way that you can ensure that you’re not putting lives and your rig at risk, is to look at the journey you have ahead. If your route takes you up and down winding roads, you might want to hold off until the weather clears. Icy or snowy roads and curves do not mix, so try to avoid especially tricky routes when trucking in bad weather.
Listen To Your Peers
Remember that you’re only a CB radio call away from your fellow truckers, so see how they’re doing. They may have more experience trucking in bad weather, so see what they plan to do. Also, if you begin passing other big rigs that have pulled over or gotten stuck, it might be time for you to pull over and let the weather pass. Finally, communication is important when trucking in bad weather, so make sure that you’re working together with fellow truckers to ensure the safety of everyone.
Weather and Time of Day
Obviously, the biggest factor when it comes to trucking in bad weather is just how rough the weather looks. While trucking in rain or light snow is manageable, trucking in a blizzard can be very risky.
The time of day can also play a factor. Trucking at night can make it even more difficult to see in the snow. The light reflects off of the snow, making it much harder to see what’s in front of you. Sunrise and sunset can also be tricky if you’re driving in the direction of the sun, so make sure to consider when you’ll be driving.
If you do happen to risk traveling in rough weather, there are a few tips to keep in mind that can help ensure your safety. These precautions could save your life, so make sure that you’re engaging in safe practices while trucking in bad weather.
4 Tips For Trucking in Bad Weather
1. Slow Down
Winter weather is (hopefully) going to make everyone drive a little more cautiously, so there’s no sense in trying to speed up to hit your deadline. Speed is one of the biggest factors that contribute to trucking accidents; so make sure that you’re taking your time on the road.
2. Keep Your Brakes Up to Par
Make sure that your brakes are in check. Icy roads could force you to stop more frequently, so you’ll want brakes and brake pads that are in the best shape they can be.
3. Don’t Tailgate
Speaking of brakes, you certainly don’t want to tailgate when trucking in bad weather. Icy and/or wet roads can make stopping more difficult, so the last thing you want to do is to be riding someone’s bumper before slamming on the brakes.
4. Pack a Winter Safety Kit
If you do happen to get stuck on the side of the road while trucking in bad weather, you should have a winter safety kit in your cab in case of emergency. This kit should include food and water, as well as road flares and cones to ensure that other vehicles can clearly see you. Also, make sure you have a reliable cell phone as well as a working CB radio so you can contact others in case of an emergency.