The fall season presents numerous hazards for truck drivers. Time to bone up with a reminder of what to look out for. It’s a beautiful time of the year, transitioning from hot summer to the beautiful colors of falling leaves. But therein lies a traffic hazard. Falling leaves can create a tricky situation by covering roads with a very slippery blanket of wet leaves that can put you into a skid when braking or steering. Don’t take chances; slow down to a speed where you feel comfortable and safe. No load is worth a hammer down attitude. Shippers and receivers will wait. A slick covering of wet leaves is not worth risking your life or someone else’s. Avoid piles of dead leaves on the roadside. They can hide dangerous debris.
Keep an eye out for roaming wildlife on the road ahead. Animals are well known for ignoring traffic, especially when foraging for food. Hitting a deer or moose can cause serious and expensive damage to a truck when in collision with a large animal. If you’re traveling in areas where large creatures are sometimes seen on the road, consider having a reinforced moose rack bumper fitted to your truck. If you hit a deer at speed, you’ll wish you had added a stronger bumper to mitigate damage. Repairs to a large truck are costing more every day and lost revenue while waiting for repairs is not easy to take.
Of course, when driving in rural areas on skinny roads there exists the ever presence of pedestrians and cyclists in your path. Keep your focus on such road sharers, particularly those wearing headphones. They may not have the slightest notion that they are venturing into your path.
Farmers will undoubtedly be sharing the road with you, and they will be traveling at very slow speeds as they work at harvesting their crops and getting them to processing facilities. Give them a break; you don’t want to crest a hill to find a slow-moving tractor and wagon dead ahead. Keep your speed down and graciously share the road with them. Like you, they have a job to do. Normally they don’t drive far.
If you travel into the north country, beware of ice-covered roads that may be incredibly slippery primarily in the night or early morning hours. Resist the urge to drive fast in areas where black ice is often found and is often invisible to the naked eye. Prescription eyeglasses are no help in identifying such a hazard.
Your best defense when driving in treacherous terrain is to reduce your speed to a rate that will allow you to manage the hazards of fall. Relax and motor safely. Save lives; winter always comes next.