I’ve been driving a truck for my whole life.
I know what it’s like to be stuck in the rain, waiting for your windshield wipers to do their job and get you going again.
Most truck drivers don’t realize that they have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to driving in the rain, which can save them from being late or, even worse, getting into an accident!
Read on for some tips on how to drive a truck in the rain.
How Do You Drive A Truck In The Rain?
The best way to be safe while driving a truck or any other vehicle in the rain is by being careful, staying visible, staying consistent, calm, and in control, and by eliminating distractions.
Trucks have a few different considerations in the rain than other vehicles, so read on for a more in-depth breakdown of how to drive your truck in the rain.
If you’re new to driving a truck, this is probably the trick you’ve heard about more than anything.
Brake smoothly. Why?
When you brake suddenly, your first instinct is to make sure your tires grip the ground firmly.
That’s great if it’s not slippery.
But if it is raining, try not braking as hard.
This is because when your tires are wet, they don’t grip the ground as well.
And if you brake too hard in the rain, your wheels will lock up and skid.
If you drive a manual transmission, it’s even easier to skid.
This is because manual transmissions make it easy to push the gas pedal and brake simultaneously.
You can’t do that in an automatic transmission like most cars and trucks.
If you’re driving a manual, the best thing to do is only use one foot while your other should be firmly on the brakes.
This way, if skidding occurs, you won’t hit both pedals at once like you would with a manual.
Smooth stops are your friend.
Brake too hard, and you will end up sliding, so it’s important to brake smoothly.
This works with ABS or without, but especially with. If you have ABS, don’t be afraid to use it for maximum braking power.
If you don’t have ABS, then use both feet to brake.
Also, don’t slam on the brakes.
Slamming on the brakes in a truck is usually followed by an accident.
If you haven’t driven a truck before, it’s important to know that your vehicle weighs more than most cars.
And when it comes to braking, weight plays a big part in how your vehicle reacts when you hit the brakes.
If you jump on them, you might lose control of your truck.
Slamming on the brake pedals is usually followed by an uncontrollable skid.
Turn on your Headlights
Most people don’t turn on their headlights during the day for a variety of reasons.
But when it rains, your headlights are super helpful for letting others know you are there.
If you have brights on, they will be even more useful.
Make sure to use them if the road is wet or rainy.
Headlights are your friend in the rain.
They help other people see you, and they can help lessen the chances of a hydroplane occurring.
Before you start turning on your headlights, make sure that it’s legal to do so where you’re driving – some states don’t allow headlights to be turned on during daylight hours.
Turning on your lights makes your windshield wipers do double duty.
The faster you move your wipers, the more rain gets wiped from your windshield.
If you have a slow wiper setting, you can turn the speed to make it wipe even faster in heavy rains.
Turning on your lights help others see you and thus helps prevent truck accidents.
Turn on your Fog Lights
Most newer trucks nowadays have fog lights built into them. If yours doesn’t, you can get the accessories and install them.
These fog lights are so useful because they point at the ground and light up anything under your front bumper.
This greatly improves your ability to drive in the rain or any other time it’s dark out.
Turn them on and light up anything under your front bumper.
This helps you see what’s happening on the road under your truck.
Once again, this is especially useful at night but still very helpful during the day as well.
The best part? It also works with your regular headlights.
Step on your Gas Pedal
This sounds like the opposite of what you should do while driving in the rain, but hear me out here.
If you’re going a manual transmission, one foot on the gas pedal and the other firmly pressing down on your brake is an easy way to control your speed.
If you have ABS, it makes it easier to stop with this method.
The reason for this is because it’s raining and the roads are wet.
This way, you don’t have to rely on just the brakes to stop the truck.
The gas pedal has a similar effect as that of braking, but it makes it easier to control your speed if you have ABS or not.
If you don’t, then definitely consider getting some good-quality brake pads for your truck.
You need to pay close attention and avoid tailgating people driving slowly, which happens more often in the rain.
Accidents can happen in this kind of weather because people are driving slower than usual, making it easier for you to get into an accident if you tailgate them or cut them off.
The tailgating usually happens when it’s raining or really bad weather.
This is what you want to stay away from while driving a truck in the rain.
The best thing to do is maintain a safe distance away from the vehicle in front of you.
If they’re driving slowly, leave more room between you and them.
Stay Near the Edge of the Lane
Most drivers are too worried about not hydroplaning that they tend to drive right next to the curb, keeping themselves dry.
While this is ok most of the time, it isn’t when it’s raining or snowing out.
Driving near the edge of your lane makes it easier to control your vehicle since you have more room for error if you need to turn or dodge an obstacle.
It would be best if you stayed about 5-6 feet from the center of the lane.
This helps prevent hydroplaning and gives you room to maneuver if you need to.
If you happen to be driving a truck with wide tires, this is even more important because you can get stuck in the mud or worse – hydroplane and rollover.
If the roads get really bad, drive slowly and maintain your distance from other drivers.
This way, it doesn’t matter if you go off course because there isn’t much traffic to hit you.
Slow down and drive slowly
Being too eager to get where you’re going, especially when it’s raining out, is a recipe for disaster.
Not only does driving fast in the rain cause more accidents, but it also puts you and other motorists around you at risk for getting into an accident or, even worse – dying.
The best thing to do is slow down and be patient.
If you need to get somewhere fast, wait for the roads to dry up.
You need to slow down and drive slowly if there’s heavy traffic or even flooding on the road.
While hydroplaning is unlikely because of your truck’s wide tires, it doesn’t hurt to drive slowly, just in case.
Don’t Use Cruise Control or Engine Brake.
Cruise control is convenient for most truck drivers because it makes driving a lot easier, but in weather like rain or snow, it’s probably best to turn it off.
The same goes for engine brakes.
Unless you have ABS and know how to use it properly, don’t press your foot down on the brake pedal when it’s wet out.
This can cause your truck to hydroplane and lose control.
If the roads are wet, turn off your cruise control and don’t use your engine brake.
If you need to slow down, use your brakes.
Please don’t rely on the engine braking or cruise control to do it for you because they can be unreliable when it rains.
They’re meant for dry roads, and using them to your advantage could cause your truck to skid out of control which might result in crashing into something else or an accident.
Don’t distract yourself when driving in the rain or snow.
Distractions can be anything that takes your focus off where you’re going, and it includes using your phone, eating and drinking (except for water), looking at your GPS, smoking, etc.
All of these distractions take your focus away from the road and what’s going on around you.
Make sure you’re paying attention, and if you need to look at your phone and it’s not urgent, wait until you’re done driving.
Don’t drink soft drinks or eat food if you’re driving because you’re probably going to spill it.
Use a cup holder instead of the dashboard and if you’re using a GPS, make sure it’s programmed beforehand because most likely, your hands will be occupied while driving with the wheel or controlling your truck’s pedals.
Driving in the rain is not for everyone.
If you are considering driving a truck or any other large vehicle on wet roads, make sure to practice safe driving techniques and stay alert at all times.
Remember these tips when it comes time to drive in the rain so that your day doesn’t get ruined by bad weather.