Driving too fast for road conditions, as defined by the FMCSA, is traveling at a speed that is greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving. Some examples of road conditions where drivers may find themselves driving too fast include: wet roadways (rain, snow, or ice), reduced visibility (fog), uneven roads, construction zones, curves, intersections, gravel roads, and last but not least, heavy traffic. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study reported that 23% of large-truck crashes occurred when CMV drivers were traveling too fast for current conditions. Today we’re going to touch on some tips that can help you maintain a safe speed for a variety of conditions.
Slow down in adverse road and weather conditions.
Adjust your speed to safely match current weather conditions, road conditions, visibility, and traffic flow. Excessive driving speed is one of the major causes of fatal crashes. In most cases, the higher the speed, the more severe the crash.
Did you know that when it first begins to rain, the rainwater mixes with any oil on the road, making it pretty slick and slippery?
Take your time entering curves.
The reduced speed limits that you see alongside curve warning signs are intended for passenger vehicles, not large trucks. In fact, large trucks should reduce speed even further than what’s posted. Because of the high center of gravity, large trucks have been known to loose control on a curve even at the posted speed limits, so it’s best to use extra caution.
Don’t try to exit at high speeds.
Approach exit and entrance ramps at a reduced and safe speed. Trucks can rollover on these ramps of the driver misjudged the sharpness of the curve and enters at an excessive speed.
Slow down when you have a load.
A loaded trailer is more prone to shifting, skidding, or rolling over when a sudden speed adjustment happens. Again, this has to do with the high center of gravity. When you’re hauling a load, exercise additional caution.
Don’t forget to slow down in work zones.
Well before you enter any construction or work zones, slow down, merge into the correct lane if there’s any closures, and be ready to further reduce your speed or stop all together. Driving at a cautious speed in these areas means that you’ll be able to brake faster and decrease your stopping distance, should you need to react.
Don’t let the road conditions get the best of you. Always use your best judgement, common sense, and training in addition to these tips. Check out our other blog posts to find more useful tips and tricks for truckers!