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What Is a Truck Driver’s Responsibility in Inclement Weather?

Inclement weather creates dangerous roadway conditions for every driver. Heavy rain, fog, snow, ice, tornados, thunderstorms, and high winds can make it difficult to see the road and other vehicles and obstacles on it. Accidents in inclement weather are almost a given without proper safety precautions.

Poor weather conditions make it difficult for passenger vehicles to maneuver on the road, but commercial trucks have an even more challenging time when road conditions become treacherous. A fully loaded commercial vehicle can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, which may be difficult to control and can cause extensive damage in an accident. Poor weather makes handling these vehicles even more difficult and dangerous.

All drivers must follow the rules of the road to help prevent accidents and make roads safer. Truck drivers have more responsibilities than the average motorist because of the greater dangers commercial vehicles present on the road. Some of these rules apply to handling inclement weather.

Pulling Off the Road

Truck drivers are well-versed in the safety concerns for their vehicles. Any driver who works under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations must at least reduce his or her speed when faced with bad weather conditions. Whenever the situation is dangerous, commercial truck drivers must pull off to the side of the road and not continue travel until the weather improves.

Some truck drivers may be reluctant to stop driving if it means they will be late with their shipments, but stopping is the safest option in poor weather conditions. Reducing the risk of accidents and keeping all drivers safe is much more important than an on-time delivery.

Driving According to Weather Conditions

Many car accidents are a result of drivers failing to drive appropriately for the weather conditions, and truck accidents are no different. Truck drivers should reduce their speed appropriately to allow more reaction time in the event of an emergency or other road hazard.

In addition to speed, truck drivers should work to keep ample space between their truck and other vehicles on the road, especially between the vehicles in front of them. It can be difficult to remain patient during poor weather conditions, but doing so is essential when operating such massive vehicles.

Conducting Pre-Driving Inspections

Truck drivers are responsible for checking their vehicles before all trips, and safety regulations require the process. Driver should be sure to check all items relevant to driving safely in inclement weather, such as tires, lights, wiper blades, and windshield fluid. Such inspections should occur before every drive.

Beyond just following safety requirements, a thorough inspection can help drivers fix any issues that may make driving difficult before they become problems on the road.

Preparing Necessary Equipment

Truck drivers have the potential to travel across the country, so they may encounter all types of weather conditions on the job. A truck driver can build a safety kit for inclement weather, which can include jumper cables, tire chains, a flashlight, gloves, rain gear, and a blanket, along with any other useful items.

Even when inclement weather is the cause of a truck accident, the driver may still bear responsibility if he or she was not acting in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Following proper procedures does not just reduce the chances of an accident – it reduces the possibility of becoming the liable party in a much larger incident.

All truck drivers have an obligation to follow safety regulations while on the road. Failure to do so can result in catastrophic accidents, especially in adverse weather conditions. Following these steps are just some of the ways drivers can reduce the chance of crashes.