How to Safely Drive a Truck in the Rain
Driving a truck safely in the rain is a little bit different than driving a car safely in the rain. The overall weight of a truck and the way the weight is distributed is much different than a car. The lightest part of a truck is the bed, and right under the bed is the drive wheels. This can make driving a truck in the rain a little bit trickier than you would think.
Be Rain Ready
Image via Flickr by truckhardware
Before you worry about how to drive your truck safely in the rain, it's a good idea to make sure your truck is ready to handle rainy conditions. Check your windshield wipers to make sure they clear the window completely. It is hard to drive any vehicle if you can't see clearly.
You should also check your tires. According to Consumer Reports, you need a ⅛ inch of tire tread remaining to safely drive in the rain. To check your tread depth, take a quarter and put it in the groove of your tread with George Washington's head facing down. If you can see George's whole head, you have a ⅛ inch of tire tread left. If there is space between George's head and the edge of your tire tread, it's time to replace your tires.
Add Weight to the Bed
The biggest risk to trucks in the rain is a rear-end slide because the back is lighter than the front. Throw some bags of sand in the bed to help stabilize the rear end. How much will depend on the size and type of truck you are driving, but adding even 200 pounds of weight to the bed can make a difference when you are driving in the rain.
Keep to the Middle
Roads are built with a high crown in the center so water will run off of the road. You want to be where the least amount of water is, and in most cases that means the middle of the road. This isn't always possible, but if there is no other traffic stopping you from doing it, stick to the center.
Leave Extra Distance
Trucks are heavier than cars and take longer to stop. This is doubly true on rain-slicked roads. If you don't leave enough distance and have to slam on your brakes, you can easily skid into the car in front of you. Stay back far enough so you can see where the pavement meets the rear wheels of the car in front of you.
Stay Out of High Water
Standing or running, if you don't know how deep it is, stay out of it. Yes, your truck sits higher than the cars on the road, but unless you want to be the feature on the evening news, stay out of the water unless you know how deep it is. If it is running water, the danger is not only from the depth but from the weight of the water against your vehicle. Trucks are capable vehicles in many situations, but they drive differently than a car. On rainy days, check your tires, stay out of high water, and leave some distance between you and the traffic in front of you. You stay safe, they stay safe, everyone goes home happy.