Trucking schools attempt to teach drivers how to drive in all weather conditions, however they cannot offer hands-on experience for every possible situation. Weather is a common contributing factor to truck accidents, and weather changes can be quite sudden.
Many truckers learned to drive trucks through on the job training, from their fathers, friends, on the farm, in the military or some way other than through a driving school. Since truck drivers do get most of their all-weather driving experience on the job, you never know when the one nearest you is learning to control his rig in existing weather conditions for the first time.
About Stopping Distances
- The stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer with cool brakes traveling at 55 mph is about 256 feet.
- The same rig with hot brakes can take as much as 430 feet to stop.
- The same rig stopping with up to 80,000 pounds takes much longer–time and distance–than a 4,000-pound passenger car.
- Stopping on wet or icy pavement takes much longer–time and distance–than on dry.
Trailers hit broadside by high or gusty winds can become unstable and swerve suddenly, especially on wet, icy or poorly maintained roads. Tractors pulling multiple trailers are more susceptible to instability. The more factors involved the greater the risk of a truck accident in any weather.
Truckers are responsible to keep their rigs under control, and to stop safely under all weather conditions. But they often drive too close or too fast for conditions. Forty tons of truck moving at up to 75 miles per hour in rain, wind or on ice is a potentially deadly combination.