Driving Tips for Severe Weather

Gulf Coast Braces For Tropical Storm Cindy

Severe weather is expected to sweep across the central U.S. this weekend. Drivers, please be safe out there.

Truckers, we know you all know this.  Just a reminder.

Spring is a time for warmer, wetter weather.  For many, spring is a welcome sight after a long, hard winter, but can bring about many driving challenges.

Spring weather often flip flops from warm to cold and back again.  It’s often hard to prepare for the day ahead, when you’re traveling from snow, to thunderstorms then to dry roads, but these are some tips to help you navigate the roads of spring:

Rain/Heavy Rain:

  • Fill your windshield washer fluid more often during fuel stops.
  • Products like Rain-X can be found at many fuel stops, and it helps to prevent water from sheeting on your windshield.
  • Take a few minutes to thoroughly clean the inside of your windshield. Grime and smudges can amplify blurriness and visibility in dark and wet conditions, especially with oncoming traffic using headlights.

 Wind:

  • High wind is especially dangerous for high-profile vehicles.  Slowing down will help you keep better control of your truck.
  • If winds are too high, leave the highway and idle on an exit ramp (if it’s legal) or in a truck stop.

Hail:

Hail is common during spring thunderstorms. Fortunately, hail storms are usually very brief. Since it will be over so quickly, there’s no reason to drive directly into the ice. If possible, pull off the highway to a safe location, then angle your windshield away from the pounding hail.

Lightning:

-Truck drivers often don’t treat lightning with the respect it deserves. Semi trucks are often the tallest metal object in a particular area, thus the odds it (and you) will be struck are higher than for other motorists. If you can pull off the road to a fuel stop, do it. Stay away from pumps, and try and stay inside your rig.

Tornado:

We’ve all seen the footage from Schneider’s recent direct hit from a tornado, where trailers were tossed through the air like toys.

Though any driver on the open road is in danger when tornadoes strike, truckers are especially vulnerable. Those 53′ vans “ full or empty “ are huge targets for any gust of wind. But funnel cloud winds, which can reach 300 miles-per-hour, are especially deadly when you’re moving freight.

Unfortunately, the recent tornado damage is just the beginning for 2012. Tornado season east of the Rockies typically lasts from early spring to late summer. Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.

If weather conditions suddenly become extremely dangerous

  • Do not park under an overpass (sometimes they can actually amplify wind speed).
  • Don’t stay in your truck.
  • Try to make it to the nearest building.
  • If there isn’t shelter around, get to the lowest point on the ground and lie flat on your stomach, with your hands on your head.
  • Do not drive during tornado conditions.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Never try to “outrun” a tornado. They are unpredictable and could change direction at any time.
  • And, if you see any of the cast from “Storm Chasers,” take cover!

 

 

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