Winter is a dangerous time of year for drivers. The reason is fairly obvious. Snow and ice can make some roads difficult to navigate, if not impassable. Throw some altitude into the mix and you have created a potentially fatal challenge that truck drivers often have no choice but to overcome.
Naturally, when spring comes around, many truck drivers believe they can now relax and let their guards down. While roads are nowhere near as dangerous in the spring as they are in the icy months, this season brings its own unique risks that drivers should prepare for. Here are just a few driving tips for truckers who prefer to play it safe.
Because of the warmer weather, many truck drivers may prefer to do their driving at night. To do so safely, it is important to ensure your lights are clear and bright. Invest in cleaning kits for an affordable solution. However, if your headlights are beyond repair, consider purchasing new, brighter lights instead. Lights are an effective way to increase visibility while driving through spring rains and fog, but do take care not to blind other drivers on the road.
Be Cautious of Heavy Winds
Yes, trucks are heavy, especially when they are carrying their full load. Still, this doesn’t stop the wind from causing trucks to blow over or veer off the side of the road. If you are traveling in hilly or mountainous regions with deep curves and sharp drop-offs to the side, you should be especially careful. Keep in mind that the wind tends to have a more dangerous effect on trucks while driving at high speeds.
Beware of Potholes
The freeze and thaw of winter and spring can cause large holes to form in the road. If you frequently travel through remote areas, it can be months before these holes are found and fixed, making them a danger to all drivers. Take care when dodging potholes as you may swerve into other drivers who are riding in your blind spot. When you must drive over the potholes, do so slowly to avoid damage to your load and the vehicle.
Watch Out for Pedestrians
As the weather warms up, you will encounter more people walking across and along the streets. Pedestrians are often just as distracted by their phones as drivers, so it is important to keep an eye out for them. According to the CDC, accidents involving pedestrians are most prevalent in urban areas, after dark and on sections of the road that do not have roadways.
Prepare for a Late Freeze
Bipolar weather is common in regions all across the United States. It is not unheard of to start off the spring season with weeks of warm weather, only to return to freezing conditions and snow shortly afterward. If you already got rid of all the equipment you usually need for the winter cold, this could leave you in a precarious position. Plan ahead by keeping some of the essentials handy, such as blankets, fire-starting apparatus and a block heater for the engine.
Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife
Often accompanying humans are their four-legged friends. Dogs may escape their leashes and run into oncoming traffic. Other wildlife posing a far more dangerous threat to truck drivers include horses, cows, goats, bears and deer. Deer are usually most active during the fall and early winter, but may still cross roads during the spring. Bears are especially active in the dusk and dawn of the springtime. Remember to look out for signs that warn of animal crossings and equestrian or hiking trails.
Check the Tires
One of the most common reasons for tire punctures and blowouts is underinflation. To find out whether or not your tires are properly inflated, check your owner’s manual for the recommended psi. If you don’t keep one in the truck, then you may be able to find what you need online. You may also be able to find the recommended psi in certain areas of your vehicle. The door jam on the driver’s side tends to be a popular location for manufacturers to place this information.
One unfortunate mistake that truckers make is assuming additional friction is only useful for ice and snow. Trucks can get stuck in mud, too. To ensure you have extra traction when you need it, purchase easy-to-install truck claws. It only takes a minute or less to install each claw and they can get your truck moving again in just 15 minutes. If your route includes roads that suffer frequent flooding or mudslides, this could be your safe ticket out of a bad situation.
Even mud-free roads can be dangerous when wet, especially when the water settles. This is because large puddles of water can cause wheels to lose their grip on the roads, resulting in hydroplaning or skidding. Not only does this make it difficult for you to bring the truck to a safe stop, but it may also result in the truck swerving to the side, causing you to lose control. Drive slowly on wet roads and avoid large pools of water whenever possible.
Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, but the price of that beauty is pollen. For a lucky few, it is a price easily paid. For others, pollen can wreak havoc on your health, causing itchy and watery red eyes. This can make it difficult to focus on driving without constantly rubbing the eyes and squinting. Thus, one of the most underrated tips for truckers is to find an anti-allergy routine that works for you. Keep non-drowsy meds on hand and consider eye drops that are specifically made with allergy season in mind.
Spring is a wonderful time to be traveling through America, but it is not without its risks. To truly enjoy all that spring has to offer, be sure to plan ahead for any potential problems by following these semi truck driving tips. For more truck accessories and safety products, browse our online storetoday.