While we may not have to worry about snow and ice during the summer, we do have other severe weather to deal with in the Midwest. Unfortunately, truck drivers have to face all sorts of unfavorable conditions while on the road, like rain, lightning, hail, wind, and tornadoes. All drivers must take the proper precautions to be safe and be prepared for the worst. 


Be Prepared

First things first, drivers should be prepared for whatever kind of weather they may encounter. Before they hit the road, they should check the weather reports for where they are and where they are going. They should be familiar with the lingo and know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning.” A “watch” means that the potential exists for the development of severe weather. A “warning” indicates that severe weather is in your area and already occurring. Knowing the terms can better help drivers prepare for what’s to be expected or to take cover. Additionally, drivers should carry an emergency kit in their trucks in case they get stranded in bad weather. Their kit should be stocked with a blanket, flashlight, radio, flares, reflectors, first aid supplies, food, and water. Lastly, drivers should know their company’s safety procedures of how to deal with severe weather. If drivers have questions, they should talk to their safety team. 


Driving in Severe Weather

Here are some tips to help drivers navigate severe weather during the summer…


  • Rain is not always avoidable, so driving in it is a skill you’ll have to learn. Depending on the severity of it, it can make driving conditions rather difficult. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the vast majority of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement (70%) or during rainfall (46%). Rain can reduce your visibility distance as well as pavement friction. 
    • For rain, drivers should:
      • Turn on headlights
      • Turn off cruise control
      • Watch out for standing water
      • Maintain a safe distance between cars
      • Use defrost if your windows become foggy
      • Slow down


  • Hail is common during summer thunderstorms. Luckily, most hail storms are rather brief, so drivers can typically pull over and wait for the storm to pass within a few minutes. However, depending on the size of the ice clumps mixed with wind, it can cause damage to your truck. Most windshields are made to withstand the impact, but the side and rear windows are not. 
    • For hail, drivers should:
      • Slow down and turn on hazards
      • Pullover to a safe location
      • Angle your windshield away from the hail, if able
      • If you can’t find shelter, keep your back to the windows and cover yourself with a blanket in case your windows break


  • Lightning is one of nature’s most powerful forces and can make being out on the open road rather dangerous. Oftentimes, trucks are the tallest objects in the area, which makes the odds of being struck by lightning higher than other vehicles. Even if you are traveling at a highway speed, lightning can still hit you. While it’s a scary situation to be in, the good news is that the outer shell of metal on the truck can usually protect the people inside with the windows closed. 
    • For lightning storm, drivers should:
      • Slow down and turn on hazards
      • Pullover to a safe location
      • Stay in your cab
      • Stay away from power lines
    • If your truck gets hit by lightning, drivers should:
      • Pull off the road 
      • Keep your hands in your lap
      • Don’t touch anything made of metal
      • Wait for the storm to pass and the charge to disperse
      • Call for help

Tornados and Strong Winds

  • Tornados and strong winds make it extremely difficult to remain in control of your truck. For that very reason, don’t try to outrun the storm. A semi’s height and flat sides can easily catch the wind and rollover or jackknife. Drivers must keep in mind if they have a full or light load as that will make a difference in how easily your truck is blown, too.
    • For strong winds, drivers should:
      • Secure cargo and make sure doors are locked tight
      • Slow down and turn on hazards
      • Keep a firm grip on the wheel
      • Pullover to a safe location
    • For tornados, drivers should:
      • Pullover and find shelter in a building
      • If you can’t find shelter, lie in a ditch and protect your head with your hands
      • Stay away from debris and powerlines


Stay Safe On the Road

The weather is unpredictable, but you can do yourself a favor by knowing what to do in a severe storm situation. There is power in being prepared. We wish all of our truck drivers, and those they share the road with, safe travels this summer.

Liquid Trucking is a family-owned liquid transportation company located in the Midwest. We haul agricultural, hazmat, and food materials in the continental US and Canada. To learn more, please call 844-GO-TANKS.