The winter months bring more than just chilly temperatures and snow. Sometimes it’s just downright windy, which causes it’s own unique set of challenges. As always, when adverse weather strikes it is up to you to decide if it is safe to keep traveling down the road.
Know Your Load
A light or empty trailer is obviously going to be more of a liability in high wind conditions. If your load is light the changes that your trailer develops a mind of its own is far more likely. If you are having a hard time staying in control of the trailer in high wind conditions, it is definitely time to find a safe place to shut down.
Gear Down for a Boost of Power
If you know you need to shut down, but have miles to go before you can do so safely, gear down. Many experienced truck drivers say that gearing down when you’re fighting a crosswind will get more power to the drive wheels and give you a better shot at powering though the winds.
Know the Road Surface
High winds combined with icy road surfaces can lead to disaster pretty quickly. In the winter it is important to know the weather conditions of the route you are traveling, but it is equally important to check out the road conditions as well. Before you head out check the conditions and make a plan. If your route is going to take you through 65 mph winds on ice/snow covered roads, you may want to wait it out where you are instead of risking an accident.
Reducing your speed helps keep the truck balanced. When ever you have a shear wind slowing down, which reduces the energy influencing the vehicle, will help you maintain control of the vehicle and reduce the chances of laying the truck on its side.
High profile vehicles have a high centre of gravity which affects their stability. Cross winds are no joke. You can easily be blown into another lane or onto the shoulder and lose control of your vehicle. These risks are higher in slippery conditions when you have less traction.