Driving in poor conditions can mean dangerous scenarios for you, others on the road and those alongside the road. Awareness is key when it comes to staying safe in a thunderstorm. Before heading out on the road, always check weather conditions on a smartphone app, weather site or local radio and television broadcasts.
Unfortunately, you cannot avoid all bad weather and there will be occasions when you must drive through lightning and thunder. If you’re trapped in a thunderstorm while driving, you are safest inside a vehicle with a hardtop roof and all of the windows closed. If your truck is hit by lightning, much of the current will flow through the metal body and to the ground.
Lightning isn’t the only danger associated with strong storms. Below are a few safety tips on how to stay safe in bad weather.
Avoid Downed Power Lines
If a power line is in contact with your truck, do not try to get out. If possible, attempt to back away from the power line. If getting away isn’t possible, call for help and wait. If you must leave the truck for safety reasons, attempt to jump clear from the electric line and avoid touching both the truck and the ground at the same time. As soon as you land, shuffle your feet as you walk away. Do not run. Keeping your feet close together keeps the electricity from passing through your body, which can be fatal.
One great bad weather tip is to eliminate distractions. Have the radio locked on a station that is giving regular weather updates and not turned up so loud that it is a distraction. Stay off the CB if you can and put your phone in Airplane Mode to avoid getting unnecessary push notifications.
Maintain a Safe Braking Distance
Most truck drivers know braking distance is a principal concern when driving in high-risk conditions. When driving in rain, freezing rain or snow, keep sufficient room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you to stop in the event of traction loss, as skidding or hydroplaning is a driver’s worst nightmare.
Do not use the Jake brake or engine brake on large rigs in wet conditions, as it may cause a loss of traction and prevent braking or steering.
Stay Away from High Water
Being solidly built and weighing a lot, your truck might seem unstoppable. However, big trucks can get caught or swept away by high water, so always avoid flood waters. In 12 inches of moving water, cars can be swept away, becoming projectiles, while trucks can be swept away in 24 inches of water.
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