When you think of poor driving conditions, several things might come to mind. Rain. Snow. Fog. Night-time darkness. But one weather-related hazard for truck drivers that may not be immediately apparent is wind. Semi trucks, in particular, can be affected by wind because they can tip over very easily. We’ll explain why wind is so hazardous for tractor trailers and how you can stay safe in strong winds.
Why is wind dangerous for semis?
When wind strikes a tractor-trailer, it creates thrust. That force can cause a truck to be blown over. The larger the truck, the larger the force that is created. When a truck is moving, the pressure is increased, making it more likely for the truck to flip. The large flat area of your trailer presents the ideal target for the wind to hit and tip it over.
How to drive safely in the wind.
1. Be mindful of your trailer.
It’s important that you take special care if your trailer is empty or not completely loaded. That’s because it takes much less force to blow over a light trailer than a heavy, loaded-down trailer. So your truck is more likely to be toppled in high winds if it’s empty than if it’s loaded down.
2. Secure anything loose on the outside on the truck.
Check that all doors are fastened tightly and make sure that anything loose on the outside of the truck is secured. You don’t want anything to start flapping in the wind and creating more resistance.
3. Stay tuned to the weather.
Keep an eye on the weather so that you know if you’ll be contending with any high winds. If it’s possible to choose a different route with less chance of strong gusts and blustery weather, you can adjust your plan accordingly. You may also need to get off the road for a little while, and knowing the forecast will help you know if it’s safe to drive.
4. Make sure that your cargo is secured properly.
Ensure that your cargo is loaded correctly and that it’s not going to move around in the back of your truck. Balance is important when it comes to trucking.
5. Always do a pre-trip vehicle inspection.
Don’t rush through your pre-trip vehicle inspection – these inspections can help you improve safety in your truck business. Giving your truck a check-over before you get on the road is important so that you can ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive. Checking that the trailer is properly attached to the truck, that all the lights are functional, and that the steering and brakes are working properly can help you lower your chances of an accident.
6. Slow down or pull over if the wind gets too strong.
You may need to adjust your speed if the wind picks up. If the weather gets really strong, you may even have to pull over and wait for the wind to die down. It’s not worth trying to battle against the weather – usually, the weather will win.
7. Pay attention to signs warning about wind.
If there’s an area that’s notorious for high wind, there may be signs on the roads to warn drivers. Be aware of what these signs mean and be prepared to adjust your driving accordingly.
Staying safe in windy weather is important for you as a truck driver. Yes, it might mean slowing down or pulling over for a bit, but it’s in your best interest and in the best interest of other drivers on the road to respect the power of the weather.
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