It’s Windy Season for Semi Truck Drivers, Prepare with These 7 Tips

  • It’s Windy Season for Semi Truck Drivers, Prepare with These 7 Tips

    If you have been outside in the past two weeks, you know that we have officially hit the windy part of Spring. High winds can be an annoyance for most people but they can be deadly for truck drivers. We wanted to compile a list of the different tips we’ve been given from drivers to help aid those that might be early in their CDL careers and not experienced some of the crazy winds driving across I-80 through Nebraska.

    Tip #1: Know Your Vehicle’s Operating Guidelines Based on Wind Speeds

    Most trucking companies will have a good breakdown of what each vehicle can handle and what it needs from a load weight limit. It seems that most issues don’t start to arise until wind gusts have started to reach upwards of 40mph.
    You will need to map out the recommendations for those weight minimums but once gusts have reached 50mph or more, most recommend parking until the wind gusts die down. You should also try to figure out the direction of the wind gusts as a wind hitting you from a 90-degree angle will have a much greater effect than wind hitting the front/rear.

    Tip #2: Prepare and Check Weather Reports

    Always be prepared! Weather can change drastically in a short period of time so whenever you are making stops and have concerns around wind – double check to see if there’s any updates. Take into account what the weather will be like depending on the varying load amounts you’ll be carrying. If you will have an empty trailer on the backend of your trip, you will want to know what the hourly weather looks like for that part of the trip. Empty trailers expose you to accidents cause by wind exponentially.

    Tip #3: Watch for Signs Around You

    We mean this both literally and figuratively. If you see actual signs that are warning drivers of high winds, slow down a bit and be cautious. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on external signs like how much road signs are being moved by the wind to keep tabs on increases in wind speed. If you have concerns around the direction of the wind, use the direction a tree’s leaves are being blown to monitor wind direction.

    Tip #4: Use Added Caution Around Bridges and Overpasses

    These tips are meant to look out for drivers and their safety. It can be easy to get caught up on the damage to the vehicle or load but your safety needs to remain the top priority. High winds can wreak chaos for truck drivers but can be especially deadly around bridges and overpasses. If the winds are high, don’t hesitate to slow down and turn on your hazards to prevent your rig from being blown off a bridge.

    Tip #5: When the Going Gets Tough, Consider Alternate Routes

    We get it, you’re one hell of a good semi-truck driver. We also get that dealing with a blown over rig on the highway is going to create a lot more problems than adding an extra hour after rerouting to avoid high winds. Work with your contact at the trucking company and don’t be afraid to request a new route if the winds are too dangerous.

    Tip #6: When in Doubt, Slow Down

    It can be easy to get caught up trying to meet a timeline for a trucking route delivery but slowing down if often your best bet to avoid a wind-related accident. If you’re concerned about other vehicles not realizing your reduced speed, turn on your hazards so they know. It should also be noted that if you’re on a two-lane highway (ex. I-80 in Wyoming) you should slow down even more when passing by another semi-truck. It creates a whipping effect with the wind that can cause even greater gusts to push your truck over.

    Tip #7: Ask A Seasoned Vet

    If you are new to trucking and have concerns about an upcoming trip that could encounter severe winds, reach out to a veteran truck driver. Ask them about any tips they might have around securing loads and what they do when driving in high winds. Use their extensive knowledge to help prepare yourself as much as possible.

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