Stay Ahead of the Storm: Solutions for Truck Driving in Bad Weather 

Truck driving through unpredictable weather — especially while hauling tens of thousands of pounds –– poses a significant risk to truck drivers, fleets, and others on the road. From freezing high-speed winds to blizzards and torrential downpours, fleets need to be aware of inclement weather before they encounter it on the road. The right tips and software solutions can keep truckers well-informed, prepared, and ready for anything before they start their routes.

The Importance of Weather Awareness

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), weather-related vehicle incidents are more lethal than tornados, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Over a 10-year DOT analysis, 21% of all vehicle crashes were related to bad weather. Fleets and trucking companies must have safety protocols put in place to avoid lethal accidents, shipment delays, and even added costs. Insurance premiums increased by 47% between 2011 and 2021, and each year, carriers lose 32.6 billion vehicle hours due to weather-related delays. This makes it even more crucial for trucking companies to take extreme precautions during adverse weather conditions. 

The Role of Software Solutions

To keep truckers safe in bad weather, you must have a reliable and fast way to communicate. That’s where the right software solutions come into play. 

Modern software solutions can offer real-time weather alerts, efficient communication methods, and fleet-wide reporting and insights to keep your drivers safe. These innovative tools are used by fleets all across the country, giving drivers critical information right in their cabs.

How Drivewyze Solutions Can Help Your Fleet

Drivewyze provides dozens of both free and paid tools and resources to put your drivers in a safer position — all while staying on schedule and keeping costs low.

Drivewyze Safety+ 

For direct dispatcher-driver communication, an expansive library of alerts, and performance monitoring and coaching, opt for Drivewyze Safety+. This innovative platform enhances road safety for trucking fleets and drivers, offering: 

Safety+ significantly helps reduce unsafe driving practices, eases driver stress with unfamiliar roads or weather conditions, and enhances overall fleet safety and efficiency. 

Drivewyze Free

North America’s only free safety service for commercial trucks, Drivewyze Free is a tool designed to enhance driver safety and operational efficiency — all at zero cost. Key features include:

With the most crucial safety alerts available, Drivewyze Free helps you stay in the know about driver safety without breaking the bank.

8 Safety Tips for Truck Driving in Bad Weather 

Sometimes driving in dangerous weather is unavoidable — storms can arise out of nowhere. If you or your drivers are taking off in poor weather conditions, these tips below can be the difference between arriving safely and getting caught in an accident.

1. Inspect Your Truck Before Driving

Never drive your truck without a proper safety inspection. Check the brakes, lights, mirrors, and tires before you start any route. In addition, inspect your windshield wipers and fluid levels to make sure you’ve got a clear dashboard. To avoid getting stuck out in the cold, ensure your gas tank is full — bad weather may result in sitting in traffic for prolonged periods.

2. Prepare Your Semi-Truck for the Weather

Did you check the weather forecast for the day? If snow or ice is expected, be sure to carry chains and add anti-gel to your tank so your fuel doesn’t freeze. Have an ice scraper handy and make sure your mirrors, windows, and windshield are completely clear. If your windows are fogging up, use the defroster so your view is unobstructed. Avoid driving in bad weather with a lightweight or empty load, as this increases your chances of swaying or tipping.

3. Use Caution When Braking (Especially on Icy Roads)

It can take semis 25% longer to brake than standard vehicles, so always take it slow. Maintain a low speed and avoid using the brakes unless your truck and trailer are aligned. This avoids jackknifing, which can cause your truck to skid out. Keep in mind that it is not advised to rely on your Jake Brakes on icy roads, as they are not made for these types of conditions. Always brake early before red lights, stop signs, and exits. 

Related article: Tips for Truck Driving in Winter Weather

4. Be Aware of Blind Spots 

Are you aware of all your blind spots? Snow or hail can make it harder to see vehicles that may be close to your truck, so never make a move before knowing your surroundings. Don’t forget that other cars may have reduced visibility as well. To avoid an accident, don’t try to maneuver within your blind spots — let other cars have the right of way, even if they’re in the wrong.

5. Keep Your Distance 

As a general rule of thumb, keep several car lengths of distance between you and the vehicles in front of you. This gives you more time to brake and prevents front-end collisions. Can’t see the cars ahead? Keep your eyes peeled for their brake lights, and always assume they’re closer than they appear.

6. Pack Appropriately

The right accessories and gadgets can make a big difference. Make sure to bring plenty of warm and weather-appropriate clothing on your route, such as a poncho, multiple pairs of gloves, a heavy coat, slip and water-resistant boots, a flashlight with spare batteries, and a fully stocked emergency kit. 

7. Change Speeds Gradually 

Not only should you be braking far ahead of time when driving a semi-truck, but you should also change speeds slowly and methodically to prevent traction loss. Again, make sure there is plenty of room between your truck and the vehicle ahead of you. You never know when they might suddenly change speeds, which could cause you to crash into them and potentially be at fault.

8. Be Mindful of Distractions While Driving

Stay off phone calls, keep music low, and make sure you’re fully awake and focused while driving in dangerous conditions. If the driving conditions are just too treacherous, decide whether you should stay off the roads altogether. The no. 1 priority is safety — both for you and the passengers in the vehicles around you.

FAQs: Truck Driving in Bad Weather 

What is a Good Weather App for Truckers?

Drivewyze’s Safety+ is an advanced safety dashboard for truck drivers with an ever-expanding library of severe weather alerts for everything from blizzards and floods to tornadoes and heat waves.

What Are the Weather Safety Alerts On Drivewyze Safety+?

Drivewyze’s Safety+ includes over 70 weather safety alerts, including blizzard warnings, heat advisories, fog and dust storm advisories, hurricane and tornado warnings, and much more. See a full list of weather alerts from Drivewyze Safety+.

How Much Does Drivewyze Safety+ Cost?

Drivewyze Safety+ is a subscription service that can be added to your Drivewyze account. Learn more about the features and costs of Drivewyze Safety+, or try Drivewyze Free, which provides only the most essential safety alerts.

The Bottom Line 

Ultimately, you must prioritize the security of your drivers and fleets during bad weather conditions. To do so, you must have safety protocols for any type of inclement weather and software solutions to keep your whole fleet informed. Don’t let snow, ice, heavy rain, and wind halt operations. Get your truck drivers prepared with pre-route vehicle checks, fully stocked cargo, and a clear way to communicate during the drive.

Ready to treat your fleet to top-tier safety? Keep your truckers protected at all times with Drivewyze Safety+ and Drivewyze Free.