7 Things Truckers Need to Know About Low-Visibility Conditions
A trucker’s life will take you through just about every possible driving condition you can conceive of. Many are perfectly safe, especially for a seasoned driver, but there are others that are especially treacherous no matter how many miles you have under your belt. Low-visibility conditions fall into the latter category, because there are so many that can present themselves, sometimes without much warning.
For that reason, truckers need to keep in mind that while low-visibility conditions can vary significantly, and here are some rules about safe driving that apply to all of them:
1) Make sure you’re well-rested
This is just a good idea no matter what the driving conditions are, but whether you’re driving down a dark highway at night or in the middle of a freak snowstorm, you can’t let yourself drive drowsy, according to Trucking Truth. That’s especially true because low-visibility conditions are exactly the kind of situation that require more attention and energy to navigate safely. When you’re starting to feel drowsy and having trouble seeing, it’s better to find a place to park ASAP.
2) You can’t rely on exterior light sources
This is the kind of thing a seasoned trucker should know already: You simply cannot expect roadways or parking lots to be well-lit at all times, Trucking Truth advised. Don’t count on others to light your way and you’re going to be better prepared for whatever arises.
3) Always give yourself an out
Especially when traffic starts to get a little thicker as visibility drops, truckers have to be increasingly aware of their surroundings and make sure they can bail on a dangerous situation, according to Smart Trucking. Often, that’s as simple as driving exclusively in the right lane — not a bad idea at all times of day — but having an out is critical to avoiding a potential catastrophe.
4) Keep your eyes on the road
It can be natural to want to check various gauges, fiddle with the radio, reach over to grab a snack or drink and otherwise do something to distract yourself for even a second, Smart Trucking added. But when conditions don’t lend themselves to you (or other drivers) not being able to see the road in front of you, it’s best to give driving your undivided attention.
5) Check your mirrors whenever you can
With that having been said, you still need to know what’s going on around you, Smart Trucking further cautioned. All your mirrors should always be free of debris and dirt, and you have to check them regularly to make sure you’re aware of what other drivers are doing.
6) Take it slow
As soon as visibility becomes limited, you should get over to the right lane and slow down, according to Len Dubois Trucking. The reason for this is simple: It takes a big rig longer to stop at higher speeds than smaller vehicles.
7) Turn on all your lights Before any trip, make sure all your lights work so you’re as visible to other drivers as possible, Len Dubois Trucking said. That might not seem necessary on a clear day when you’ll be driving on a well-lit highway, but you never know when low-visibility conditions might arise.