As winter comes to a close, we’re all looking forward to wildflowers, warm sunshine, and longer days. For many, especially areas hard hit by the cold, the spring season is an exciting time.
But with the coming springtime also comes increased chances for rain, thunderstorms, strong wind, and other precipitation like hail and sleet. There can even be the occasional early spring snowstorm for some areas. All that weather uncertainty means increased dangers out on the roads for all drivers, especially flatbed and CDL truck drivers.
While carrying loads that can vary in shape and size, it’s important to know how to stay safe while driving through dangerous weather. Here are some simple tips to remember the next time you see rain on the horizon on your next trip.
This may seem obvious, but it can make a huge difference in avoiding an accident. Rainy roads mean slippery roads, so the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggests reducing your speed by one-third while driving on wet roads to avoid accidents. It may slow down your delivery time, but it’s better to arrive a little late than be involved in a dangerous accident.
Turn your lights on
Many states require you to drive with your lights on while it is raining. By turning on your lights during a rainstorm, you illuminate your path and help maintain your visibility. Since many storms can also make the environment around you very dark, turning on your lights when it’s raining helps other cars see you.
Give yourself plenty of space
You learned when you first started driving as a teenager to never follow other cars too closely. For flatbed and CDL drivers, this is even more important while driving in the rain. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), loaded tractor-trailers can take 20-40 percent farther than cars to come to a stop. When road conditions worsen, this time to stop can take even longer.
Know your load
Strong winds can also present a significant hazard for drivers during inclement weather. For flatbed and CDL drivers, the risk of being blown over or off the road increases significantly if you have an empty or light trailer. If you’re going to be driving into some strong winds. it’s critically important to know how heavy your trailer is before you hit the road.
Strong crosswinds are very typical on wide-open interstates, so it’s important to find a safe place to stop if your trailer is empty or your load is exceptionally lightweight.
Parking in high winds can also present a challenge for flatbed and CDL truck drivers. To avoid being knocked over by high winds, park with your cab facing the direction the wind is blowing. If possible, head for a truck stop and find a parking spot between two van trailers to protect yourself in a windstorm.
Be wary of others
Another reason to keep your distance from other cars is to prevent a potential accident due to high winds. A semi or flatbed truck can weigh as much as 20 to 30 times the weight of a car, which means your vehicle could cause a disastrous accident if your trailer is blown over or you lose control on wet roads.
Watch for trouble spots
If you’ve driven across the Mid-South for long enough, you know springtime weather can change rapidly from warm sun to rain to freezing temperatures. These temperature changes can result in dangerous trouble spots like black ice. Even though the road may just look wet from rain, it could be a patch of ice.
Don’t stop on the shoulder
If you can at all help it, avoid stopping on the shoulder while traveling on highways and interstates. Cars that are sliding due to poor road conditions won’t be able to stop and could collide with you while you’re parked. Whenever possible, park your vehicle at a truck stop or rest area.
Keep your lights clean
Driving through varying weather conditions during the spring can leave your headlights covered with anything from ice and snow to mud, dirt, and grime. Since your lights can play a critical role in keeping you and other drivers safe out on the road, you’ll want to make sure nothing is dimming or impacting the effectiveness of your lights in any way. Be sure to clean them every time you stop to make sure they work effectively in the rain, snow, or anything other inclement weather you could face during the spring months.
Truck Driver Jobs at a Transportation Company in East Tennessee
With the right preparation, skills, and support, flatbed and CDL drivers are enjoying safe, thriving careers no matter the season. So when the dark clouds form and you know rain is on the way this spring, trust that you know how to operate your flatbed truck in any condition.
Are you ready to start a career with high pay and great benefits with a supportive, empowering company? Roane Transportation is a transportation company in East Tennessee, and we are always looking to hire passionate, dedicated flatbed truck drivers. Currently, our top areas where we need to hire are East TN; Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; and Charlotte, NC. We offer industry-leading pay and excellent benefits to all of our truck drivers, plus guaranteed weekly home time. Our equipment is state-of-the-art to ensure the safety of our drivers and the loads they carry. With our national, regional, and local fleets, you are sure to find the perfect fit with our company. If you are interested in becoming a part of our flatbed trucking team, give us a call today at 865-354-3288 or apply online.