September 30, 2013 by Minuteman Trucks
Brought to you by Idealsafe | 847-304-3190 | www.idealease.com
Not only is this the beginning verse of the United States National Anthem, it is also a question a driver must ask themselves while operating any type of vehicle. Sunday will be the first day of fall and we see during this time of the year drastic changes in temperatures which result in rain storms and foggy conditions. Our sight and vision of the road and surroundings is instrumental in operating the vehicle in a safe manner not causing damage or injury to you or the motoring public that you are in close proximity with on the roadway. During a road trip to an adjoining state this week with a colleague, we saw a number of vehicles that were putting themselves as well as the rest of us in danger by not operating their vehicle safely in low visibility such as rain and nighttime situations.
Nighttime driving is more difficult because visibility is reduced. However, low visibility conditions often occur during the day, caused by heavy snowfall, downpours, thick fog and blowing dust or smoke. Follow these safety tips for driving in low visibility conditions:
- Slow down. Disengage your cruise control. Most accidents occur because the driver is going too fast for the weather conditions.
- Use your low beams. High beams will disperse in thick fog or snow, making visibility worse for you and other drivers.
- Lights: Make sure that all of your lights are clear of bugs, dirt, road film, etc. to give you and other motorist the highest level of visibility and sight.
- Avoid entering an area if you cannot see a safe distance ahead.
- Loss of Visibility: If you suddenly encounter a severe loss of visibility, pull off the pavement as far as possible. Stop, turn off your lights, set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake to be sure the taillights are not illuminated. Turn on your emergency flashers.
- Safely Pull Over: If you can’t pull off the roadway, slow down, turn on your low beam headlights and sound the horn occasionally. Use the white fog line or roadside reflectors if necessary to help guide you.
- Never stop in the travel lanes.
- Rain: People do not realize just how dangerous this can be and tend to drive too fast. When you are driving a truck, look in your mirror next time it rains and watch just how much water spray you generate from your tires. There is enough to blind the driver behind you. Also, remember what you were taught, that you can hydroplane even at 35 mph; so please do yourself and others a favor and drive at a safe speed in the rain.
Be aware when bobtailing a tractor in rain and applying the brakes. Without the trailer, the braking power is disproportionate and can cause the vehicle to go into a spin and lose control. There have been many trucks jackknifed because they were going too fast and needed to make a sudden stop. You will slide even quicker when you have a light load. Also, when passing another vehicle, make sure you have enough room to return back into the lane.
There have been many trucks that come into the lane too soon, and cause the other vehicle to go off the road. Water spray is what causes you, the driver, to misjudge your distance and you may be the next one to cause an accident if you aren’t paying attention when passing. Also, watch for those curves- especially in the rain!