It doesn’t take a hurricane or a tornado to cause a rollover. Blustery winds under the right circumstances will do the same thing and it can happen to a commercial or owner operator’s rig if care isn’t exercised on windy days. As providers of rig insurance in South Carolina, we want to make sure you have a safe driving experience on the road. Here are three tips on driving in high winds.
Be Aware of High Winds on the Road
Awareness of wind conditions is as important to the commercial or owner operator truck driver as to an airplane pilot. When checking the weather report, pay attention to wind speeds. Under the right conditions (as discussed below) high winds can tip your rig over. Develop an eye for judging winds by looking at grass or trees swaying in the wind. Note how the cars and trucks ahead of you make corrections in blustery winds. All of these are warning signs to slow down and keep both hands on the wheel. Steering with two hands give you better control and provides feedback about your truck’s movements.
Wind gusts can take you by surprise if you don’t anticipate them. For example, driving on to a high bridge with lots of exposure leaves you vulnerable. Driving out of a wooded area into a large open field may suddenly expose you to windy conditions. The same is true when driving next to a large body of water. Be alert to road signs warning of cross winds on your section of the road.
Avoid Empty, Light, and Top-Heavy Trailers
An empty trailer acts like a giant sail. It has lots of surface area to catch the wind but little weight to resist it. Winds that are fine when pulling normal loads can easily cause a rollover when your trailer is empty or carrying a light load. A similar problem exists when pulling a top-heavy load which makes your rig unstable. Less wind force is needed to tip it over.
Driving too fast around corners will cause problems even on a calm day. When the wind blows toward the outside of your turn, it adds to the centrifugal force that is trying to tip the trailer over. You must also slow down when driving straight. Driving fast creates areas of low pressure at the sides and rear of your commercial or owner operator rig. High wind creates high pressure on one side of your trailer while your speed creates low pressure on the opposite side. This imbalance increases the danger of a rollover.
For information about rig insurance in South Carolina, contact us at J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.