Any commercial truck driver can encounter hazardous weather. If you’re driving a local route in Arizona, for instance, you may encounter a serious dust storm. But if you’re an over the road (OTR) trucker, you need to be prepared for a wide range of severe weather hazards—from freezing rain and intense cold to dust storms and extreme heat.
Freezing rain is extremely hazardous for drivers of all vehicles. Don’t underestimate the risk of driving over a patch of black ice. If you’re driving through rain in a wintry area, keep a close eye on the temperature outdoors. If the temperature drops to freezing or below, start looking for a safe place to pull over and wait out the weather.
It’s always good practice to check the local weather reports before you start driving for the day. But dust storms can be unpredictable. If a dust storm forms, pull over in a safe place as soon as possible. Keep your windows closed and wait it out.
Strong wind is more dangerous for big rig drivers than for the average passenger car driver. Be particularly cautious of strong wind if you’re on a highway with open scenery to either side, as there is nothing to block the wind. Reduce your speed and start looking for a truck stop. If possible, park between two van trailers to shield your cab from the wind. This can help you stay warmer if you’re in a cold climate.
Winter weather isn’t the only thing that drivers need to worry about. In extreme heat, the rubber on the tires can deteriorate and the high engine temperature can inflict motor damage. You don’t want to break down in the middle of the desert, so try to structure your work day so that you’re resting during the hottest part of the day.
At Yuma Truck Driving School, you’ll learn everything you need to prepare for a life on the road. We offer training programs for beginners as well as refresher courses. Call our school in Yuma, AZ at (888) 647-3239.