To most, semi trucks seem virtually indestructible. This is understandable, of course. These trucks are huge and powerful, and it’s tough to imagine much getting in their way. However, to those of us who drive professionally, we know that something as simple as high winds can actually be a heavy truck’s Achilles’ heel. Every year, due to their height and build, semis are tipped over while they’re barreling down the highway because of high winds.
First and foremost, you simply have to be aware of the weather at all times. There is no excuse for a professional driver—even a new one—not knowing what kind of conditions are ahead of them, much less the type they’re driving in. Rarely, if ever, should high winds be able to sneak up on you and take you by surprise.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can always avoid this type of weather. However, knowing what’s going on around you is the first step toward altering your driving as necessary so that you can continue on safely. Generally speaking, this means slowing way down. A lot of times, you should really bring your truck down to about a third of what you were doing.
To put it simply, the faster you are going, the easier a time wind will have knocking your truck over. Sometimes, it will be appropriate to pull over and wait for the wind to dissipate. Keep in mind that this advice can also be legally mandated too. You’re never to drive your semi if it’s obviously dangerous to do so.
You always want to make sure that your doors and any exposed elements of your truck are secured before driving. That’s just a no-brainer. When you’re driving your semi in high winds, though, it’s all the more important that you take a few minutes to confirm nothing runs the risk of being stripped from your truck.
Also, be cognizant of your load. Empty trailers are far more dangerous than those with cargo in them. The latter has the advantage of being sufficiently weighed down for dealing with the wind. Without this weight, even a modest amount of wind can make the trailer hard to control. Ergo, you might want to pull over if you have an empty trailer even when the wind isn’t terribly strong.