Many people think of spring and imagine warmer days, brighter colors, and new bursts of life. However, some iconic symbols of spring include the massive thunderstorms the season brings. Some people love storms and others hate them. No matter how you feel, though, there’s no denying that thunder, lightning, and heavy rain are dangerous for driving. In fact, one of the most important spring driving tips for truck drivers is to watch out for bad weather. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid a storm along your trucking route. When bad weather is on your radar, stay safe with these trucking tips for driving in a thunderstorm.
Pay Attention to the Radar
When it comes to driving through bad weather, knowing what to expect is half the battle. Pay attention to weather forecasts throughout your trip. Make sure you know your weather terms—especially the difference between a watch and a warning. A thunderstorm watch indicates that conditions are favorable for a severe storm. A thunderstorm warning, on the other hand, notifies you that a severe storm is already on the radar in your area. Keep an eye on the forecast throughout your day so that you know what kind of weather you’ll face.
Practice Extreme Caution
The best trucking tips for driving in a thunderstorm involve simply falling back on good driving habits. Slow down when necessary and pay attention to other cars around you. Increase your following distance so you have more time to brake on slippery roads. Keep both hands on the wheel to maintain control in heavy winds. Most importantly, stay calm. Panicking can cause you to freeze up or overcorrect, which will only make a bad situation worse. Take deep breaths and stay steady behind the wheel. This will make navigating bad weather and rough roads much easier.
When in Doubt, Wait It Out
Commercial truck drivers have a schedule to maintain, but that schedule shouldn’t come at the risk of your own safety. Severe thunderstorms make it nearly impossible to see on the road, and it’s easy to lose control of your vehicle in heavy winds and rain. Sometimes, the best solution is to pull over somewhere safe and wait out the worst of the storm. The best course of action is to get off the highway and find shelter. If there are no nearby exits, pull onto the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights so passing cars can see you.