Tips on driving a truck in windy conditions
Truck driving in windy conditions is no joke, as any skilled truck driver can tell you. Driving a semi-truck is hard even without the additional challenges of strong winds.
Many things can make driving a semi-truck more difficult or dangerous. Some may seem self-evident, such as snow and ice or steep mountain routes, but the wind may also play a part in dangerous driving conditions. Because of the high profile of the trailers, significant wind speeds have been seen to tip semi-trucks.
What wind speed can cause a semi to tip?
When wondering about wind speed or can your vehicle remain upright in a strong wind, there are a few elements to consider. To begin, consider your whole weight. Obviously, a fully loaded trailer weighing 60,000 pounds will be more difficult to flip than an unloaded trailer weighing just 35,000 pounds.
Next, what is the wind’s direction of travel? Semi-trucks are significantly more vulnerable to crosswinds than they are to headwinds or tailwinds. Winds of 60 mph or more have the capacity to flip a semi-truck. However, if the winds are nearing or above 40 mph, you must use caution.
Key tips for driving in windy conditions
Check the weather when planning a trip
While preparing for your trip, you should check the weather before getting on the road. Always double-check what you’re driving towards. Don’t simply look at the weather forecast to see if there will be snow or rain; also look at the wind speeds.
Many truck drivers miss or underestimate the risks of high wind speeds. Winds of 60 mph or more are risky for trailers, according to a decent rule of thumb. If the wind speed is less than 60 mph, you should be fine, but be careful if the wind speed is between 40 and 59 mph.
Also, keep your cargo weight in mind before heading into an area where severe winds are present or expected. A trailer with a load weight of 70,000 pounds is plainly more difficult to tip over than one with a load weight of 35,000 pounds.
Don’t be caught off guard by windy conditions. A disaster can be avoided with proper preparation and understanding. You may download a decent app for your smartphone to keep track of weather updates at all times.
Take a different route
You may be able to take a different route to your destination if you realize that portion of your trip will take you through a region with windy conditions. You can take a detour before getting on the road if there is a safer route that does not include driving through windy parts of the roadway. It is always safer to avoid danger than to navigate through it.
Check over your possibilities and, if one of them is viable, take it. Sure, it will take longer to get there, but it is preferable than parking your truck and not driving at all. Listen to weather reports and chat with other drivers to figure out what your other route options are and whether or not they are safe.
If you must drive while in windy conditions, make absolutely sure to slow down. In fact, you should use the same caution you would if it were freezing or snowing outside. There will be occasions when the winds are stronger than normal, but it is safe to continue driving. You should modify your speed appropriately if this happens.
Stop and park
If the wind is so strong that you can’t drive any longer, you should stop and wait it out. You are the only one who has the authority to make this decision. If you believe driving is no longer safe, find a parking spot.
When searching for a parking spot, try to choose one next to a structure so that the wind is cut down a little.
Another strategy is to place your tractor-trailer so that it faces the wind. This will reduce the amount of wind that comes into contact with your trailer.