Drive with Caution in Strong Wind – Especially if you are behind the steering wheel of a Truck!
On the Arrive Alive website road users are urged to drive with Caution in Bad and Challenging Weather Conditions. These conditions include rain, dust, smoke and strong winds!
The drivers of trucks are often severely tested when having to steer their trucks through strong winds. Some rather insightful dashboard camera footage has revealed this threat to the safety of our truck drivers!
We have decided to share, with the Assistance of MiWay, some safety advice for truck drivers having to drive in strong/high winds!
What is the best advice for truck drivers to follow when encountering heavy winds? What are the Do’s and Don’ts?
Slow down immediately and keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times to maintain maximum control of the rig. Identify the closest safe place to park.
In low visibility, be extra attentive to your surroundings. In particular, pay attention to other vehicles sharing the road as well as the width, curve of the road and be alert to possible debris.
Apply defensive driving skills to ascertain whether the wind has any effect on other moving vehicles, or on your own vehicle.
Increase your following distance to other vehicles
Barloworld Transport revealed that in their business, high-winds poses the greatest risk to their tautliner fleet (truck with trailer and curtains). This is especially true when the vehicle is empty, as no load means no weight to support the trailer. The large side panel (curtains) of the trailer, in effect, becomes large solid surfaces against which the wind blows. In these instances, our drivers are required to open and fasten the panel curtains (of the tautliners) as this reduces the impact and drag of the wind on the vehicle.
Ideally, a driver should contact their fleet control room, and inform them of the weather conditions. This information allows the control room to proactively notify other members of the fleet, as well as customers whose freight may be delayed. Our fleets operate with a “Safe Stop Procedure”, which details how and where to stop a vehicle to ensure driver and vehicle safety. If exceptionally high-wind persists, it becomes necessary to stop under bridges or behind hills to stay clear of the wind, until the inclement weather subsides.
Such stopping does increase risk, however, as whenever a truck is stationary on the side of the road, there is an increased chance of rear-end impacts with other traffic, as well as the risk of theft or hijackings. The key is for the drivers to assess the situation, and make the safest decision, for himself, the vehicle and other motorists, at that moment.