It’s not enough just knowing the basic rules of the road when you drive a big rig. These trucks carry tens of thousands of pounds and that weight can affect how a tractor trailer moves, even causing it to whip around like a boomerang under the right circumstances.
Weather can be one of those unpredictable forces that causes an eighteen-wheeler to become a massive weapon against anyone in the vicinity. Whether it be other drivers on the road or people going about their business outdoors, semis are a risk for causing truck accidents in these highly volatile weather events.
What truckers should do to prepare for a tornado encounter
Tornado safety is important when you drive trucks for a living. Educating yourself on weather conditions that the areas you drive through are prone to before you hit the road is something every truck driver should do. Each region is more susceptible to certain types of incidents, which can help you stay vigilant. If you’re driving through the northeast in January, you’re likely to run into a blizzard. Florida is known for hurricanes six months of the year while much of the Midwest has earned its place in “Tornado Alley” for good reason.
- Carry a weather radio to receive alerts for the area you’re in. When tornadoes are involved, seconds count even more when you’re operating a large truck that is less agile than a passenger vehicle. An alert for a tornado watch means conditions are right for formation. A warning means a tornado has been spotted and you’re in danger.
- Pay attention when the sky color turns dark or green, large hail or dark clouds appear, or you hear a freight train sound. These are all classic signs of tornadoes.
- Preplan locations on your route where you and your truck can shelter in place during weather emergencies. If you can’t make it to a safe place, park your truck as far off the roadway as you can to safeguard other drivers should your truck be thrown.
- Never try to outrun a tornado. Weather is often already bad, and you cannot predict where the twister will turn. Speeding in the rain in a big rig creates risk to everyone on the road of causing a crash. Instead, turn around and drive the opposite direction looking for a low area below ground level that you can drive your truck into like a ditch or an access area behind a hill.
- Never shelter your truck underneath an overpass or inside a tunnel. The design creates a vacuum that can hurl debris at the semi causing damage that you may be unaware of once you begin moving again. That damage can make it dangerous to operate the vehicle.
If you were unable to avoid being caught in the high winds of the tornado’s outer reach, make sure to slow down and keep a hard grip on the steering wheel to pull your truck in the opposite direction the wind is trying to drag you.
Any time a tractor trailer is involved in causing an accident, the risk of catastrophic injuries increases just based on the difference in vehicle size. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a trucking collision, let the experienced legal team at the Minot truck accident lawyers, Larson Law Firm, P.C., help you put your life back on track. We deal with the insurance and trucking companies on your behalf. Start by calling 701-484-HURT to schedule your free consultation in our Minot or Bismarck offices, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.
Mark Larson is a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Civil Pre-Trial Specialist focusing on personal injury, motor vehicle, wrongful death, and oil field claims. Since 1979, Larson Law Firm has served the injured throughout North Dakota. Read more about Mark V. Larson