Safety Advisor” Keep Your Drivers Safe When Weather Conditions Vary

Each year, over 1 million roadway vehicle crashes are caused by adverse weather-related road conditions. To keep your drivers safe, educate them with these tips for responding in the following weather scenarios:

High Wind:

  • Be alert for high winds on bridges and overpasses, and when driving next to another truck that may be blocking the wind.
  • Avoid passing other vehicles if possible.
  • Watch out for blowing debris on roadways. During high wind conditions, various types of debris can end up on the roadway that might not be there under normal conditions.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel to help maintain control.
  • Properly secure cargo loads according to the North American Cargo Securement Standards, which are required under federal and state statutes.
  • Watch for drivers who may be trying to pass. A strong wind may cause a collision.
  • Maintain awareness of high wind warnings through state Department of Transportation traffic managers.
  • Always pull off the road and take shelter immediately during a tornado warning or a hurricane.

Rain/Ice/Winter Weather:

  • Slow down!
  • Increase following distance and avoid passing other vehicles. Watch far enough ahead to flow with the traffic. This will help avoid the need to change speeds.
  • Avoid driving beside other vehicles. Keep out of “the pack.” Leave yourself room to react to emergencies.
  • In rainy conditions, be sure to watch your speed. Remember, trucks can hydroplane at only 35 mph.
  • Be courteous to other vehicles with the amount of water spray generated from your tires.
  • Follow state guidelines that require chains to be placed on your vehicle. When entering some states, you will need to pull over to put chains on before continuing on their highways.
  • Do not rely on tire chains to prevent sliding. Tire chains are there to help with traction and will not stop the truck if it begins to slide.

A common practice in cold weather country is to let the truck engine idle while sleeping, going in to a truck stop to eat, while loading or unloading, etc. Drivers need to be aware that while the engine may be warm and the oil may be flowing freely, the grease in the wheel hubs, transmission and differentials is cold and stiff. Severe problems can arise from overheating these parts due to inadequate lubrication. Be aware of local regulations which limit or prohibit idling.

Start out slowly in cold weather conditions to allow lubricants time to warm up and become fluid.

During winter months, equip your fleet with the following items:

  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Flares and reflectors
  • Blankets
  • First Aid kit
  • Shovel
  • Sand, gravel or clay oil absorbant
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Matches/lighter, candle
  • Nonperishable food items
  • Booster cables
  • Tire chains

Training your drivers on how to handle adverse roadway weather conditions can save your business from potentially catastrophic losses. Your employees, and everyone else on the road, will thank you for it!

Sentry Insurance is committed to helping you protect your business by providing resources to manage loss-producing situations and prevent accidents. For additional information visit, or call 1-877-832-1835. 

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