What’s a little rain?

Over 1.5 million weather related accidents are reported annually. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 78 percent of fatal crashes in 2012 involving large trucks occurred on weekdays and the majority of those occurred during the hours of 6a.m. to 5:59p.m. A few stats to keep in mind:

*In 46 percent of the two-vehicle fatal crashes reported that year, both the large truck and the other vehicle were proceeding straight at the time of the crash.

*In 9 percent of the crashes, the other vehicle was turning.

*In 12 percent, either the truck or the other vehicle was negotiating a curve.

*In 7 percent of fatal crashes, either the truck or the other vehicle was stopped or parked in a traffic lane (5% and 2%, respectively).

*In a significant number of the two-vehicle fatal crashes, both vehicles were struck from the front.

*A truck was more likely to be struck from behind.

*Texas has the most number of fatal accidents.

While there are a number of a reasons accidents occur, more often than not, weather has some factor in it.

Online sources indicate that when the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt causes tires to lose traction. Rain also reduces driver perception and decreases visibility through its action on headlights, windshields, and the road.

Although most people know it is important to slow down in the rain, there are some tips that will help keep you and those on the road with you, from becoming a statistic:

*Don’t use cruise control

*Don’t attempt to cross running water

*If you see a large puddle drive around it or choose another route

*After you cross a puddle, tap the brake lightly to shake off the water

*Brake early and with less force

*Watch out for pedestrians

*Avoid slamming on your brakes in a skid. Steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.

*Allow for more travel time

Remember: slowing down during a rainstorm can seriously reduce your chances of hydroplaning—when the tires rise up on a film of water. According to research by Triple A, with as little as 1/12 inch of water on the road, tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. To avoid hydroplaning, drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. At speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the asphalt.

GoToTrucks.Com reports that, “Truck driving in the rain is more dangerous than swimming in shark-infested waters. Joking aside, being caught in a rainstorm is serious business and should be handled in a professional, levelheaded manner. The truth is, over 600 truckers die a year and vehicle collisions are one of the top five reasons.”

According to research, hydroplaning normally occurs in the beginning of a rainstorm, as oil, gas and fuel are brought to the roads’ surface, causing slick conditions. You can protect yourself from this by simply slowing down, keeping your headlights on, and leaving enough space between you and other vehicles.

While it can be exciting to drive through various areas, there is no doubt that there will be times when your professional skills as a truck driver will prove to be a life protector and preserver. Everyone benefits when you stay alert and cautious in wet conditions.

About Millis Transfer

Mills Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information please visit www.millistransfer.com, www.mtidriving.com or call 1-800-937-0880.

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