Autumn Driving Safety Tips for Truckers

Truck driving in autumn

Cooler weather and changing leaves mark the beginning of autumn. While this season tends to be people’s favorite time of the year, it also presents many dangers and challenges for truck drivers. We’ve listed a few autumn driving safety tips for truckers to keep in mind.

Expect Weather Changes

Heavy rain and thick fog are often challenging this time of year. Rain can impair visibility and make the roads slippery and dangerous. Don’t let the weather changes catch you off guard. Make sure to keep more distance from other cars and drive slowly. Even though it may seem helpful, don’t use high beams in fog conditions. Instead, keep your low beams on and turn on your fog lights to make your truck more visible to other drivers. It’s also important to keep your truck in top condition. Check your windshield wipers for signs of damage and leave time in the morning to defrost your windshields before you get on the road. Keep your brakes properly adjusted and ensure your tires have proper tread depth.

Look for Black Ice

With cooler weather in the nights and early mornings comes the possibility of black ice developing in shaded areas. This is a thin, easy-to-miss layer of ice on the road that can make the road extremely slippery. Be on alert for icy spots, especially when braking or rounding a corner. If you encounter black ice, do not panic. It’s essential to remain calm and not hit the brakes. Keep the steering wheel straight and let the car pass over the ice.

Slow Down for Leaves

Fallen leaves are beautiful, but can be dangerous for drivers. Not only are they a slipping hazard, they can also hide other hazards like ice or potholes on the road. Avoid or slow down on a part of a highway covered in leaves. Try not to suddenly brake or swerve, as leaves can cause hydroplaning just like water. As always, make sure you have enough space in front of you to avoid a crash if your tires slip on the leaves.

Prepare for Bright Sunlight

With daylight savings ending in a few weeks, there will be more sunlight in the early morning hours. This also means your days will be shorter, so you will likely be driving with the sun lower in the sky. This position produces a bright sun glare that may make it difficult for truckers to see other vehicles and the road. To avoid this issue, always keep your windshield clean, inside and out. Wearing polarized sunglasses or using your sun visor also reduces the glare and the danger associated with it.

Watch for Children

It’s back-to-school time which means there will be more children running around than in the summer. Always pay close attention when you are close to school zones, bus stops, and buses on the roadway. There will be lots of children walking around or parents dropping off and picking up their children. Children also do not pay attention to the traffic and often don’t understand the dangers of playing near the road. Make sure to halt (if the state requires it) when a school bus is stopped with its red flashers on. Slow down near schools or consider using an alternate route to avoid school zones.

Look Out for Wildlife

Autumn is the breeding season for deer, so they will become more active and are more likely to run into the road. Avoid driving beyond the reach of your headlights and keep an eye out for deer around deer crossing signs. Drive slower in areas where there’s a lot of wildlife and look on both sides of the road for potential critters. If a deer does step in front of your truck, do not swerve, just slow down and keep the truck straight. If necessary, hit the animal to avoid losing control of the truck.

Anticipate Encountering Farm Equipment

Autumn is harvest season, which means farm equipment may be on or near roads. These machines are slow-moving, have few lights, and are difficult to see around. When driving by a farm vehicle, slow down and be patient. Do not pass unless it is safe and legal to do so.

Follow these autumn driving safety tips for truckers to stay safe on the road this season!

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