Any weather status which limits the visibility of a driver makes for dangerous situations. Furthermore, rain can create conditions which increase the chances for vehicles to hydroplane! Light beams from headlights become weaker in rainy conditions and can be reflected on surfaces. The hazards of limited visibility causes issues in reaction times to other cars, pedestrians, road signs, and changes in road direction. New and experienced drivers alike will have difficulties during these types of conditions. As avoiding every spring storm is nearly impossible, here are some tips to help truckers stay safe on the roads ahead.
Truck Maintenance Checklist to Prepare for Spring Weather
- Know the Expected Weather Forecast for Your Route: The best way to stay safe on the road during spring weather is to avoid storms. Try to adjust your route or departure times to avoid potential developing storms that cross your path. Just like winter season hazards, Spring can bring about encounters with heavy winds, rains, hail, tornado risks and fluctuating temperatures. Discovering weather conditions prior to leaving and staying up-to-date can help you stay safe while meeting deadlines. As weather can rapidly change, tune into local radio stations and check for updates on a mobile weather app during pit stops. However, this means you also need to know the names of counties you’ll be driving through. If a storm does develop, meteorologists often mention counties being affected rather than cities.
- Pack Appropriately and Replenish Emergency Supplies: Spring weather takes many turns and changes quickly. Even though winter is coming to an end, occasionally you will need extra layers, blankets, or tools for a late spring cold front. Prior to hitting the road, give your emergency supplies a check over! Having emergency supplies for winter hazards is common but spring season also has its own challenges. Along with the winter related items such as:
- Extra clothing and blankets
- Candles or a Heater,
- A good flashlight and extra batteries
- Plenty of water and non-perishable food (as well as can-opener if necessary)
- First aid kit with updated medications
Update your supplies to prepare against temperature swings, storms, and allergies including:
- Allergy relief medication (if needed)
- Water-proof boots with non-slip soles
- A tarp and extra rain gear
- Solar-powered radio and a phone charger
- Inspect and Clean All Lights: Lights are one of the most vital tools for increasing visibility, for yourself and other drivers. Headlights, brake lights, emergency flashers, and turn signals, should all function properly when triggered. Furthermore, build up of grime or discoloration of these lights can reduce your ability to see and your visibility to other drivers. Giving your lights, and reflectors, a thorough wash to remove any buildup will improve your safety for the long road ahead. Be sure to pack some spare lights as well!
- Clean or Replace Wiper Blades: With warmer temperatures bringing in more chances of rain, a truck’s wiper blades are a critical component for better visibility. Icy windshields, sun exposure, and old age reduces wiper blade’s effectiveness for improving visibility in rain. Typically wiper blades need replacements after three years, however harsh weather conditions can cause them to deteriorate faster. If you notice any stiffness, cracks, or bends then it’s time to replace your blades. Spray your windshield with water to see if any areas are missed by the blades. If the blades skip over areas, this means the wiper blade is bent and needs a replacement.
- Keep in mind, rain repellent products like Rain-x helps rain to run off the windshield better to preserve wiper blade conditions. Before departure, top off the windshield washer fluid reservoir! Be sure to give the inside of your windshield and interiors a detailed cleaning as well. Visibility in dark and wet conditions can be significantly impaired by grime and smudges. Additionally, vacuuming and dusting can help to lessen spring allergies!
- Evaluate Your Tire Conditions: Tires often deflate a little during cold weather. Before heading out for a haul, assess the air pressure levels and tread condition of each tire (including spares) on your truck. Not only will proper tire pressure improve gas mileage, it will also increase road traction and prevent blowouts.
As spring storms can crop up unexpectedly while you’re away from home, our team at Williams Logistics knows the importance of being prepared and adaptable. The safety of our drivers and team members is one of our highest priorities. We want to help ensure you’re equipped to handle weather challenges from home or on the road. On our next blog we will discuss tips for safely driving in bad weather to help you get through unavoidable situations, so check back for more information! Reach out to one of our experienced team members if you have any questions about our company or professional careers. We would be happy to have a discussion with you.