Driving in the rain can be quite a challenge for most people.
I enjoy exploring challenging terrains, and I realized the type of car you use highly determines the ride quality in the rainy season.
I researched how trucks fare in the rain, and this is what I learned.
Are Trucks Good in Rain?
Although trucks show higher capabilities in different situations, rainy conditions can make driving a little harder. But, four-wheel drive in some trucks allows them to perform better in the rain since it offers improved traction and makes the vehicle more stable.
Driving safely during a downpour requires great care.
In fact, 47% of weather-related car crashes each year occur in the rainy season.
You, therefore, need to have the right vehicle and be extra attentive.
Keep reading to learn more about driving your truck correctly in the rain.
How Does Rain Affect Driving?
Although lifted trucks provide better performance in harsh weather, heavy rains affect even the most experienced drivers.
Some of the threats that you may encounter in heavy rains include increased stopping distances.
In rainy conditions, your truck will need more time to stop compared to other cars.
The slippery conditions reduce the tire’s grip on the road, which might double the time required to stop the vehicle.
This is even worse if you have a fully loaded truck.
Therefore, lower your speed to offset the loss in traction.
You need to also go easy on the brakes to reduce the chances of wheels spinning out of control.
When using the brakes, give yourself more time, take your foot off the gas and slowly press the brakes down.
Heavy rain also lowers visibility.
In large trucks, it’s very hard to see the blind spots in the rear, front, and sides, which can cause accidents.
As the truck driver, it’s your responsibility to take care of other drivers on the road.
Leave a considerable space between your truck and the car in front and avoid changing lanes abruptly.
You should also make your turns slowly.
Weight distribution in a truck is way much different than in a car.
The lightest part is the bed, and just below it is the drive wheels.
This makes the back lighter than the front, which can cause rear slides in the rain.
So, put an extra load on the bed based on the size and type of truck to stabilize the back end.
Another significant risk of driving a car in the rain is hydroplaning.
This happens when water gets to the tires faster than the vehicle can push it out.
Your truck will thus struggle to remain in contact with the road, which can push it out of the way.
In such a case, you need to slow down and stay out of high water, especially if you don’t know how deep it is.
Sometimes heavy winds accompany rains creating a more dangerous condition for truck drivers.
Since most trucks are pretty wide and tall, strong winds can blow you off your lane on slippery roads.
So it’s essential that you maintain a safe distance, especially when driving on slick roads.
Rainy, windy conditions also cause inconsistent traffic speeds.
Most drivers, especially those riding smaller cars, tend to brake and slow down more often, increasing the chances of collision.
During the rainy season, it would be better to wait until the weather improves, but this might not be possible for everyone.
Most truck drivers must be on the road throughout for work purposes.
It’s therefore crucial that you learn how to drive safely in such conditions.
Here are some safety tips to guide you through.
Checkout Weather Forecast
Before you head out with your truck, it’s good to know the expected weather conditions in your route so you can adjust accordingly.
If you know some roads often flood, stay away from them and use an alternative route.
Also, avoid driving off-road during the rainy season.
Remember to carry essential items like an umbrella, mosquito repellant, power bank, sturdy shoes, extra clothes, and a flashlight.
This way, you will be well should you get stuck on the road at night. Keep following weather updates throughout your journey.
Eliminate Any Distractions
Driving a truck in the rain requires high concentration.
So, keep your phone silent, set up the navigation early enough, and set aside the phone.
Remember also to place your drinks and snacks within reach, so you give the road full attention.
If you must listen to music, keep the radio at a low volume so that you can hear what’s going on around you.
Put on Your Seatbelt
Ensure that everyone in the truck puts on their safety belt.
This will help you stay in place during impacts and reduce the risks of serious injuries or death after an accident.
Use Your Windshield Wipers and Lights
Turning on the lights will make it easier for other vehicles to see and increase your visibility to prevent collisions.
It makes more sense to turn on the windshield wipers to clear moisture from the glass in such conditions.
Stick to the Center if Possible
Water tends to pool outside lanes since the middle part of most roads has a high crown.
When possible, always drive in the middle of the lane where there is the least water.
During the rainy period, you will need to plan for a longer travel time.
Take off around five mph once it begins to rain and five more when driving around a curve.
The speed reduction will help you gain better control of the truck.
Be careful with curves since the load may shift when you turn at high speed, causing the entire vehicle to roll over.
Respond to a Skid
If your truck begins to skid, don’t panic.
Instead, continue steering it in the direction you want it to go.
Avoid slamming the brake since it might make it difficult to regain control of your vehicle.
Change Speed Gradually
If you want to accelerate or decelerate, do it’s slowly while in the rain to prevent traction loss.
Keep in mind that your car will take more time to accelerate or decelerate in poor weather conditions.
Avoid Using Cruise Control
If you use the cruise control while driving in the rain, you will lose the road’s feel, and you might not notice when the truck begins to hydroplane.
The driver needs to get actively involved during a downpour to avoid losing control of the vehicle.
Ventilate the Car
In heavy rains, your vehicle’s windows tend to get foggy.
This will make it difficult to see, so activate the ventilation system to clear the fog.
Pullover of Conditions Get Out of Hand
In extreme weather conditions, no amount of experience can keep you safe.
So, if you can’t see the cars in front of you, you don’t feel comfortable driving, or you find it difficult to control the truck, get off the road safely.
Find a parking lot and wait till the conditions get better.
How Can You Take Care of Your Truck During the Rainy Season?
You need to take care of the truck to keep it running efficiently throughout the rainy season.
The last thing you would even want to experience is a dead battery in the middle of the road during the rainy season.
Such poor road conditions strain the battery since you often need to run the AC, wipers, and headlights.
So before you start your journey, you should always check the battery and ensure that it functions optimally.
Next, ensure that you inspect the tires regularly during the rainy season.
They should have enough pressure as indicated in the manual.
Also, replace worn-out tires for safety purposes.
The rainy season usually comes after the dry period, meaning that it might be a while since you last used the wiper blades.
You should therefore check and change them if worn out to ensure that you have clear visibility.
Check the brake discs and pads too.
Call a professional to assess the braking system’s condition and replace the brake fluid if need be.
Don’t forget to inspect the tail and headlights.
You can opt for the LED lights for brighter lighting, which enhances your driving safety.
Some people neglect cleaning their trucks during the rainy season.
Note that sometimes, the rainwater may leave acidic sediments on your vehicle’s body, which eats away the metal.
Remember to also keep up with servicing to boost the efficiency of your truck.
The Bottom Line
The rainwater on the road creates a hazardous driving surface, but the need to drive in this season is inevitable at times.
If you fail to take care, your truck may run out of control, spin, and cause accidents.
The only way out is to ensure that you follow safe driving precautions.
Remember to reduce the speed of your truck, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and turn on your headlights to reduce the chances of accidents caused by the rainy weather.