Severe inclement weather is one of the most common causes of catastrophic trucking accidents. For this reason, both trucking firms and national regulatory agencies have strict rules and recommendations in place regarding trucking in inclement weather conditions.
Though trucking firms have their own policies and training procedures in place, most reputable agencies take a similar approach. TransportDive interviewed an XPO Logistics spokesperson for insight into what measures it takes to reduce the number of inclement weather incidents its truckers experience each year.
Common training measures for driving in inclement weather
Training procedures and inclement weather policies vary from agency to agency. However, XPO Logistics has extensive experience in training drivers for dealing with unpredictable conditions and puts considerable faith in the following tips:
- Reduce speed and drive slowly in bad weather, heavy traffic and other adverse road conditions. Keep a safe distance from other drivers.
- Look ahead for signs that inclement weather is near. Debris flying across the road or drivers drifting in and out of lanes are indicators of impending high winds.
- When winds become heavy, or when it comes in gusts or microbursts, truckers should consider stopping in a safe location until the inclement weather passes.
- Prepare for wind bursts after passing high structures, tree lines or lines of other trucks. Grip the wheel tight and avoid over-correcting when a wind burst does push the truck.
- If a trucker feels that he or she is unable to operate safely due to adverse weather conditions, he or she should contact the dispatcher immediately.
The FMCSA’s rule on the matter
Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule 6.3.10 Hazardous Weather Conditions, truckers must exercise extreme caution when adverse weather conditions threaten visibility or traction. In such conditions, the FMCSA requires drivers to reduce speeds. If conditions become so inclement as to render continued operations “sufficiently dangerous,” truckers must cease driving until the weather passes. If, however, a trucker feels that stopping immediately would pose a threat to the safety of him or herself, vehicle occupants and/or other drivers on the road, he or she may proceed to the nearest safe place.
If a trucker fails to abide by his or her company’s safety policies or those set forth by the FMSCA or other regulatory bodies, and if said failure causes an accident, the trucker and his or her employer may assume liability for resulting injuries. Proving a trucking accident is not easy, however, and typically requires extensive knowledge of trucking laws.