How Truck Drivers Should Prepare for Extreme Weather Events

Icy roads

Freezing rain


Heavy rain


High winds

Tornado watches and warnings

Thick fog



Extreme heat

There’s a lot of weather out there, and every season brings challenging weather conditions for truckers, especially if you’re a trucker driving in it daily. What can you do to prepare for whatever mother nature sends your way? Here are ten tips that will help you prepare for the worst.

1. Inspect Your Vehicle

Create a comprehensive pre-drive checklist that you follow to the letter prior to every trip. Check everything, from your tires to your engine and from your fasteners to your emergency supplies. Don’t assume it’s all good; make sure you know it’s good with your own eyes.

2. Pay Attention to Visibility

In order to stay safe, you need to see and be seen. To ensure you can see, keep your wiper blades fresh, clean your windshield and mirrors, keep your washer fluid reservoir full (make it the anti-freezing kind in cold weather and always bring along some extra), and check and clean your lights. Cleaning and checking your lights will also ensure that others can see you, even in bad weather.

3. Check the Weather

So many apps and tools are available nowadays to help you ascertain what driving conditions you can expect; some will give you predictions down to the hour and the zip code. One of the most dangerous things about weather is the surprise; do your best to reduce the risk of being caught off guard.

You can also use tools while driving to keep you apprised of conditions. For example, a reliable outdoor thermometer will alert you when temps drop to freezing or below so you’ll know that the rain that’s failing is now likely to start freezing.

4. Make Modifications

Certain weather conditions call for modifications to your vehicle. Your fluids and tire pressures need to change in extreme temperatures. Windy conditions may change how you choose to balance your load. Snow and ice might mean you need to add chains to your tires. Check the weather conditions and then prepare your vehicle accordingly.

5. Change Your Driving Habits

A handful of changes can be used to keep you safer in almost any inclement weather conditions. These include increasing your stopping distance, slowing down, going easy on the brakes, exercising extra caution on bridges, and making slow turns, just to name a few. Switch to your “bad weather” driving mode when the weather turns sour.

6. Make Plans for Getting Help

Sometimes you’ll find yourself needing help. It’s best to think through those scenarios ahead of time and make sure you have the resources to get the help you need. That might look like having a fully charged cellphone at all times, having a good CB radio, or even a contract for roadside assistance.

7. Pack Emergency Supplies

Your truck should be equipped with a complete emergency kit that includes, at minimum, tools for basic repairs, first aid supplies, food and water, heat, light, and communication. Check your kit regularly to make sure it stays up-to-date and in good condition. There’s no excuse for getting caught in bad weather without the things you need to take care of yourself and stay safe.

8. Know When to Quit

Yes, you’re running on tight deadlines and penalties for late deliveries can be severe. But it’s important to know when to quit. Determine ahead of time what types of conditions warrant pulling over and waiting things out. When you’re “in” the bad weather, your decision tree will be muddied by things such as how close you are to the finish line and how much time you’ve invested already. This stuff doesn’t matter when it comes to your safety; even if you’re less than 100 miles from your end goal, if a disaster is around the next corner, your drive is over. Don’t risk it.

Check your weather app and think about the conditions. Decide on your “kill” conditions before you set out, such as:

  • If temps climb above x, I’ll pull over until they drop.
  • If there’s a tornado watch in the area, I’ll seek cover.
  • If visibility is low due to fog, dust, or whatever, I’ll pull over until things clear.

And then stick to your plan. Anything else isn’t worth the risk.

9. Maintain Your Vehicle

Sticking to a regular maintenance schedule and addressing needed repairs promptly will keep you safe in any driving conditions, but you’ll really appreciate your diligence about maintenance when the weather is bad. Keeping your rig in the best shape possible gives you the best chance of getting through bad weather unscathed. And keeping good records about maintenance will help you stay on top of things.

10. Seek Additional Training

Don’t get complacent about your driving skills; seek additional training to keep you current and on your toes. The better your driving skills, the more prepared you’ll be to face whatever lies on the road ahead. Weather-specific training is available that will help you learn how to interpret weather warnings and how to respond to various weather conditions appropriately.

Partner With Arrow Truck Sales

Another way to prepare for bad weather is to partner with Arrow Truck Sales for all your used semi-truck needs. We thoroughly inspect every truck we sell so you can be sure your new-to-you truck is in the best shape possible when you get behind the wheel. And we back up our work with extended and after-treatment warranties so your purchase is always protected. Plus, we offer 24/7 roadside assistance services and physical damage insurance to help in those moments when the weather gets the best of you.

Call us today to learn more about Arrow truck sales and how we can help keep you moving.