5 Safety Tips For Trucks Driving In Wet Weather

Trucks are vital in keeping Australia moving. From the groceries we eat, to the clothes we buy and the goods we export. Like the human body, trucks are the red blood cells circulating through the highway network of veins. And rain, hail or shine, trucks will continue this journey. The start of this year has really put that to the test with unseasonal levels of flooding, cyclones and rain to parts of the country. 

As a truckie or fleet manager of trucks there are 5 simple steps you can take to ensure a safe journey for all road users. 


Safety Starts Before You Turn the Ignition On
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Even prior to the first kilometre completed, all heavy vehicles should be inspected to confirm they are in working order. Tyre pressure and condition, head and tail lights, brake and hazard lights, indicators and windshield wipers should all be checked. Maintaining a regular servicing schedule ensures the vehicle’s condition is ready for the wild weather. 

Once the ignition has started, it’s vital to drive to the conditions and adjust your…


Speed:

This might sound like an obvious one but heavy rain increases the distance it takes for a truck to stop at high speeds. In wet weather, trucks need at least 8 seconds between the vehicle in front. According to Transport for NSW, a B-double travelling at just 40km/h requires up to 44 metres to stop. The same truck travelling at 60km/h will need more than double the distance at 90 metres. A larger braking zone can be the difference between a serious incident and a near miss. 

Adhering to speed limits and keeping a gap can’t prevent all incidents from occurring. Poor visibility, congestion and the actions of other road users can still cause a collision. For another layer of safety every truck should be fitted with…


Collision Avoidance Technology:

Trucks have a lot to contend with on the road. Add in bad weather and the time it takes to slow or stop safely is greatly reduced. AI-powered advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as Mobileye 8 Connect can anticipate collisions, helping to prevent them from happening in the first place. The intelligent technology incorporates warnings for forward collision, lane departure, and pedestrian and cyclist collisions for low speed, urban environments. 

Mobileye 8 Connect will also warn drivers for headway monitoring & tailgating and when speed limits are exceeded. As well as reducing risk of collisions, these warnings impact long term driving behaviour. Using Mobileye’s Connect, or a fleet management platform such as FleetHQ enables fleet managers to combine detailed analytics of events with standard telematics data. These insights, combined with training programs can help to maintain a safe, productive fleet. 

Another important factor trucks need to be mindful of is…


The Blind Spots 

Trucks have four main blind spots – Immediately in front and directly behind the truck, alongside the driver’s door and on the passenger side, from the door extending out and alongside the length of the truck. For drivers, sticking to the left lane and signaling early are simple steps that can be taken to reduce some risk.

The best way to mitigate these types of collisions is to install a blind spot monitoring system. Spotto, the blind spot radar designed specifically to stop trucks driving blind. The system combines advanced microwave radar with real-time visual and audible alerts. Spotto’s speed adaptive detection also eliminates false alerts, focusing on moving objects at speeds over 30km/h and vulnerable road users including pedestrians and cyclists at speeds under 30km/h. This allows trucks to change lanes with ease on highways and pick up hard to notice road users in built up, urban areas. 


Drowsiness and Driving Don’t Mix 

Even with sophisticated safety solutions, human error will always be a factor whilst humans still drive trucks. Fatigue is one of the top three contributors to road fatalities and puts all drivers at risk of serious incidents. The first, and most important step to take is managing fatigue. This is not only advised, but enforceable by the Heavy Vehicle National Regulator. Implementing a Safety Management System (SMS) can help identify risks and cultivate a culture of safety for all fleet managers and drivers.

But even when following these strict regulations, incidents of drowsy or distracted driving can still occur. This had led more truck fleets to turn to Artificial Intelligence to facilitate safer driving. Cipia FS10 Plus utilises cutting-edge computer vision to provide an accurate driver monitoring system (DMS). The fine-tuned and award winning technology detects drowsiness and alerts the driver in real time via visual and/or audio alerts. These life saving warnings can also be sent directly to fleet managers via SMS/email, with the option to view comprehensive driver data in a fleet management system.

What sets Cipia FS10 Plus apart is the accuracy of the artificial intelligence. Its ability to detect real drowsy events, means it doesn’t require third parties to analyse potential detections before alerting fleet managers. The DMS can also be adjusted to suit unique internal policies and driving conditions, providing impactful warnings.


In the face of Australia’s diverse weather challenges, truck safety remains paramount. With five crucial steps, including pre-trip inspections, speed management, collision avoidance technology, blind spot monitoring, and combating driver fatigue using advanced AI solutions, truckies and fleet managers can ensure safer journeys for all road users.