When Is the Posted Speed Limit Too Fast for the Commercial or Owner Operator Truck?

Many car drivers find out the hard way that the posted speed limit is meant for optimum road surface and driving conditions. The same is true for commercial or owner operator truck drivers except that there are many more circumstances for them to watch for. Driving too fast for the road conditions or in situations that are adverse to trucks can lead to an accident. Here are three of them:

Slippery Pavement

This category includes wet pavement as well as snow and ice conditions. Although wet pavement doesn’t cause slipping and sliding when walking on it, you will find it slippery when braking to avoid an accident and during swerve maneuvers. Your weight and your trailer increase your braking distance, and if you aren’t careful, a jackknife is possible. Note that pavement that hasn’t seen rain in a long time builds up dried oil and grease. This becomes slippery as ice during the first half hour of rain before it’s washed off. Speed limits meant for dry pavement don’t apply.

High Winds

High winds can cause a rollover accident, especially when pulling a lightly loaded trailer. The empty trailer’s large surface and light weight turns it into a sail. Driving too fast around a corner when the wind is pushing in the same direction as the tipping force of the trailer can cause a rollover. The same is possible when driving too fast on a straight section of the road. Fast driving causes low pressure on the sides of your rig. A crosswind pushing one side and a low pressure area pulling on the other side can also cause a rollover. Note that driving at the speed limit could be too fast in this situation.


Whether it’s a curve in the road or a curved exit ramp, the physics is the same. The high center of gravity of your rig makes it less stable than a car. How fast you can take a curve can change depending on the load you’re carrying and the pavement conditions. Too much speed will tip your commercial or owner operator truck over. Turning a curve too fast can cause your load to shift and again cause a rollover. Note that hard braking on a corner, especially when it’s wet, may cause jackknifing. Again, speed limits or signs with suggested speeds have little bearing in this situation.

For information about commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Tennessee, contact us today. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.