Semi-truck drivers are on the road a lot during ever-changing weather. There are many challenging driving conditions you’ll encounter over the course of your career, and one of these is driving in high winds. If you find yourself in a wind storm while on the road, the best thing you can do is come prepared.
These six tips will help you safely drive a semi-truck in windy weather:
1. Check the Weather Before Your Trip
The first step you can take to stay safe while driving during windy weather is to prepare yourself for the conditions. Check the weather before you leave on your route so you know what to expect. If the forecast is calling for a storm, look out for the frequency of the wind as well as the speed of the gusts. In general, wind speeds above 60 miles per hour (mph) are dangerous for semi-trucks.
2. Slow Down
Truckers should always exercise caution when driving a semi, especially in less than ideal circumstances. It is okay to drive slower than your usual speed if it makes you feel safer, even if it is below the speed limit. Listen to how your truck is holding up in the bad weather and adjust accordingly.
3. Consider Your Surroundings
Paying close attention to your surroundings when driving in windy weather can be the difference between being involved in an accident or avoiding one. To prevent a crash, do not pass other vehicles or make sudden lane changes on the highway. It is also important to be cautious when driving through bridges, overpasses, and tunnels.
4. Know When to Pull Over
Sometimes, wind speeds will just be too high for you to keep driving safely. It is important to know when it is best to stop driving rather than try to power through. If you do decide to pull over, try to park next to a building so it can block some of the wind from hitting your vehicle and make sure your truck is visible to anyone passing by.
5. Secure All Doors and Exposed Items
Preparing your semi-truck before a trip is another step you can take to drive safely when it’s windy. During your pre-trip inspection, make sure that the doors of your vehicle are closed tightly. In addition, tie down any other exposed items that have the potential to come loose while you are driving.
6. Keep a Firm Grip on the Wheel
Keeping a firm grip on the steering wheel is a good practice to keep a handle on your truck, but it is especially crucial when the wind picks up. Gusts of wind can force your vehicle side to side, causing you to veer off the road. Keeping both hands firmly on the wheel can ensure that you safely stay on course.
Learn How to Be a Safe Truck Driver
While you are earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we will teach you the necessary skills to be a safe and successful truck driver. Our accelerated program can get you out on the road in as little as four weeks. We also offer job placement assistance to help you find employment as soon as possible after earning your license. Many of our students even have offers before graduation.