Top Highway Safety Tips For Truckers During Autumn
Another season is just about in the books as summer comes to a close and autumn starts down the bend. For many people, fall is just a detour on the way to the winter freeze. But don’t be fooled – autumn presents unique highway and traffic conditions that every trucker should be aware of heading into late September and October. With the right preparation, truckers can enjoy a brisk fall and a welcome break from the sweltering heat and stifling humidity of summer.
1. Leaves on the road
In some parts of the U.S., fall foliage is breathtaking enough to bring in tourists and feature on calendar pages. But leaves are only beautiful when they’re still on the trees – when they’re on the road, they can become safety concerns. Oak leaves, sycamore leaves and other broad leaves are particularly concerning because they can lay flat against the pavement and reduce friction for vehicles. When portions of a highway are covered in leaves, slow down and avoid sudden braking or swerving. When you get a moment, call highway patrol and have someone come clean up the mess for other drivers.
2. Rainy weather
Fall is certainly not the only season during which it rains – spring and summer both might be more noted for their humidity and showers. But in the fall, the rain is different: It can take those fallen leaves and turn them into even more dangerous debris. Anyone who takes a drivers’ ed class – or anyone who’s gone for a hike during a rainy October day in New England – knows that wet leaves are among the slickest materials you can encounter.
3. Harvest season
Across the U.S., farmers will be gearing up for the annual harvest, according to Bay & Bay. That means more tractors, combines and trucks on the road. Tractors, in particular, are extremely slow-moving, so truckers need to be mindful of their presence, especially in farm country. Only pass when there is no one coming in the other direction and the highway lines say it’s safe. It can be frustrating to sit behind a tractor while you wait for a chance to pass, but it’s not worth pulling dangerously into the other lane and risking an accident.
4. Shorter days
Already, the sun is setting earlier and earlier. Less daylight means more traveling during dusk or nighttime, which is always more dangerous. But it doesn’t have to be as long as truckers remember tips for driving at night. On November 3, Daylight Savings Time ends, meaning the days will suddenly become even shorter. Up until then, sunset will continue to creep earlier and earlier until an abrupt one-hour jump to early evening. Truckers should prepare accordingly and make sure all their lights are in working order.
5. Winter is coming
Autumn does deserve its own specific trucking safety considerations, but it is also worth noting that winter is just around the corner. That will call for its own set of safety tips, but it’s never too early for truckers to review winter driving best practices. Winter of 2014-2015 in parts of the country proved devastating – who knows what this year will bring. If snows come early, truckers should be prepared for icy conditions in addition to slick leaves and other dangers. Best to plan ahead as much as possible.
The best truckers are prepared for every season, but even they need to refresh themselves when weather brings new challenges. By understanding the dangers and risks that can arise, truckers can be ready for fall and better transition into winter.