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25Apr

Refuel: 8 Tips for Driving in the Rain

Murphy Legal | Safety Refuel | | View Counts (558) | Return

If you’ve ever driven any distance in the rain, you probably don’t have positive memories of the experience. Whether it’s a light drizzle or a drenching downpour, driving in rainy conditions can be exhausting–both physically and mentally–not to mention dangerous.

But sometimes it can’t be avoided.

While these tips may not exactly have you “singing in the rain,” they should help you stay safe and get to where you need to go as soon as possible:

  1. Check the weather on your intended route. Always stay aware of any changes in weather along your route, especially potential storms. Be aware of potential stopping points at truck stops or other safe locations to pull over if conditions become unsafe.
  2. Reduce speed on curves. Because of potential load shifting this is always a good idea, but it’s crucial when it’s raining or the road is slick. If freight shifts on a wet curve, risk of an accident greatly increases. Better to slow down than take the chance of sliding off the road or into a barrier or rocks. Slowing down and braking gradually will also help you avoid jackknifing the trailer of your rig.
  3. Watch out for hydroplaning. Yes, a semi-truck and trailer can hydroplane. Even though a big commercial rig is considerably heavier than a passenger car, the laws of physics still apply. Hydroplaning is a very dangerous situation in which the vehicle’s tires glide on a thin film of water rather than making direct contact with the road surface. It occurs most commonly during the first few minutes of light rain but can occur at any time the road surface is wet. Depending on the conditions, you may need to reduce your speed—perhaps significantly—to avoid hydroplaning.
  4. Increase following distances. Because traction decreases with rainy weather and wet road surfaces, increasing following distances can give you more time to react and avoid potential difficulties.
  5. Make sure lights, windshield wipers, and tires are in good condition. Visibility decreases during bad weather. Increase safety by ensuring wipers are in good working order during pre- or post-trip inspections. Turn on lights when driving in the rain to see and be seen. Good tires improve the ability to stop readily, make turns, and avoid hydroplaning.
  6. Avoid parking on grassy or hard dirt surfaces. Wet grass, saturated ground, puddles, or standing water are all indications of unstable surfaces or ground underneath. Tires can slide down an embankment or sink into mud, causing any number of problems and certain delays.
  7. Avoid driving or turning around on dirt lots. Compact dirt roads and parking lots usually turn into muddy swamps after a rain storm. Keep off to avoid getting stuck.
  8. Do NOT drive through flooded roadways. It is possible for semi-trucks to become stuck and/or stranded in flooded roadways. (Just look at photos from Hurricane Harvey!) Even big rigs are no match for moving water. Floods can create potholes or erode the road surface, causing damage not visible because of the water. If the water is high enough, it can flood an engine or even cause a rig to be swept away.

During rainy weather, these 8 simple tips can help you avoid unnecessary repairs and damage to yourself and/or equipment. In short: slow down, make sure tires and windshield wipers are in good condition, avoid hard braking, and take turns more slowly. Taking a few extra minutes to observe these tips will help ensure you and your cargo arrive at your destination safely.

And remember, in rainy conditions, even the safest drivers sometimes have accidents.  If you or your company is facing a legal claim due to a trucking accident, Murphy Legal is ready to defend you. 

If you need assistance in an emergency, call our 24-Hour Emergency Hotline at 979-209-2173. We’re here to help. To learn more about our passion for the trucking industry, call us at 979-690-0880 or visit the Murphy Legal website.

Be sure to check our Refuel blog series for additional resources and information about rig and driver safety. Click here to sign up for our newsletter covering a wide variety of topics to help protect owner-operators and trucking companies from liability in the event of an accident.

 

Resources:

Elite Truck School. Driving your truck safely in wet weather. Truck Driver Training Refresher Course [online]. 20 Jun 2017 [accessed 23 Apr 2019]. https://www.elitetruckschool.com/driving-your-truck-safely-in-wet-weather/

 

TransAm Trucking. Tips for navigating the rain. [blog post]. 4 Apr 2017 [accessed 23 Apr 2019]. https://www.transamtruck.com/tips-navigating-rain/

 

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