Well, This Blows! Work Trucks and Wind Woes
March showers bring May flowers and…WIND! In most parts of the U.S., if it’s springtime, it’s windy. Seventy-four percent of all fatal passenger vehicle crashes involve a medium-duty or large truck. Many of those accidents are due to bad weather such as snow, ice, rain, and wind. You might not think that wind is a culprit for medium-duty commercial trucks such as Box Trucks, Flatbeds, and Dump Trucks, but it is very dangerous. Try operating a Bucket Truck on a gusty day and you’ll see what a problem high wind can be.
The Problem with Wind
It doesn’t take a hurricane to produce enough wind to cause a wreck. Some issues spurred by wind are:
- Losing control of the wheel
- Trailers blowing around
- Doors blowing off the hinges
- Other vehicles losing control
- Damage from debris flying onto your windshield
Wind in your “sail area” poses a problem, no matter what vehicle you’re driving because it causes the vehicle to move. The sail area is defined by any area of the vehicle that can be swayed by wind. This motion can involve a trailer you’re hauling or the entire truck you’re driving.
The law demands that truck drivers reduce their speed by 1/3 when dangerous conditions are present…such as wind. That’s not only for semi-trucks but for medium-duty commercial trucks as well.
Seven Savvy Suggestions for Safety on Windy Days
Here are seven ways you can help ensure you are driving safely on windy days:
- Be aware of your sail area. Sail areas vary from truck to truck so know where yours is located.
- Secure exposed items and doors. All it takes is opening your truck door when the wind kicks up and it can blow off the hinges. The same is true for things you are transporting in the bed of your truck. Never assume that large, heavy items can’t blow off. You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised so batten down the hatches.
- Conduct an inspection before you take off. Check for any potential issues and fix any you see. On a windy day, assume it’s going to get windier and count in the wind you naturally encounter when on the road.
- Check the weather. Especially in areas that are prone to dangerously high winds or trade winds and where tornadoes and hurricanes abound, know before you go. It could save your life and the lives of others too.
- Keep an eye out. Look for tell tale signs of harsh wind conditions such as windsocks, trees swaying, and flags waving like crazy. These are all excellent indicators that the wind is strong.
- Watch for debris. Many accidents are caused because drivers dodge oncoming objects like twigs, trash, and so forth. Have a plan of action in case you need a way out.
- Know your vehicle. Knowing what your truck will operate like under severe conditions will help you decide when it’s safe to drive and when it’s not.
At MJ TruckNation, getting in a great truck that can hold up to dangerous wind conditions is a breeze. We are here to help. If you tell us the weather conditions you’ll be operating under, we can assist you in finding a truck that’s optimal. We can also advise you in safety measures for any commercial work truck. Give us a call today – 561-840-9800.