Making Safe Driving Adjustments for Conditions

Too Fast for the Conditions

What is too fast? As defined by the FMCSA: “a speed that is greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving”. There are many conditions a driver will experience when traveling where the posted speed might be considered too fast. These conditions include: wet roadways (rain, snow, & ice) Fog, uneven roads, construction zones, curves, traffic, standing water, and pot holes. Whether driving a Fiore “big rig”, straight truck, light truck, office vehicle or family car; these tips apply.

Tip #1- Reducing your speed

Adjusting your speed to safely match weather conditions, road conditions, visibility and traffic. Reduce your speed by 1/3 on wet roads and 1⁄2 on snow and icy roads. Do not use “Jake Brakes” on wet or slippery roads, snow packed roads, the retarder can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Tap brakes or apply even pressure avoiding rapid braking.

Reducing speeds are essential in wet conditions. Roads become slippery and it’s more difficult to stop. Turn on your headlights whenever your windshield wipers are activated. This includes during the day. This is the best way to combat reduced visibility. And if you see water pooled across the roadway, don’t cross it. Flash flooding doesn’t always look as dangerous as it actually is.

Can a semi-truck and trailer hydroplane? Yes. A commercial truck is heavier than a passenger car but it still follows the rules of physics. Passenger cards and light trucks can hydroplane at slower speeds as well as high; depending on the amount of water on the roadway.

Tip # 2- Avoid pot holes and standing water as we, all know when the rain comes so do the pot holes

Look ahead. Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this will not cause a collision

Beware of puddles. A puddle of water can be disguised a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.

Check alignment. Hitting a pothole can knock a vehicle’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls
to the left of right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.

The steering wheel shakes. If your steering wheel is vibrating or shaking after hitting a pothole, you may have accidentally damaged a tire, rim, suspension or there is an issue with the wheel balance. Pull over and check it out.

Summary

Always make sure your vehicle is in proper working condition, be aware of changing weather, slow down and stay alert. Your
life, your family and the traveling public rely on your best judgment when conditions are poor. Use your training and inner
conscious to guide your safety.

(Topic suggested by Maury Hennard and Dennis Greer)

Coronavirus Reminder: If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people to reduce spreading the illness. Keep
your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Cover your face when at work. Stay 6 feet apart during lunch & breaks.

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