Tips For Safely Driving A Tank Trailer

Sept 27, 2019 Miscellaneous By ___

A tank trailer is a big rig that has a circular, elliptical, or rectangular storage tank behind a drivetrain. Generally, they’re used to transport fluids or dry bulk like sand, sugar, roofing asphalt, etc. You have probably seen one on the highway transporting gasoline or diesel oil. These vehicles often carry explosive cargo, so they have a number of safety features. That doesn’t mean the driver can slack off, though!

At Trailers of Texas, we want all our clients to remain safe while driving their vehicles, so we’ve compiled this short guide about safely driving a tank trailer. To learn more or to purchase safety-compliant tanker trailers, come to our dealership in Houston. We’re proud to serve our friends from Katy and The Woodlands!

Avoid Surges

All that liquid sloshing around in the tanker can cause the trailer to roll over if it’s not handled carefully. Some tanks are equipped with flow-obstructing panels that regulate the forward and backward flow of the liquid, but they cannot stop the liquid moving from one side to the other, causing sideways surges. To control these, apply steady pressure on the brakes and avoid releasing them when stopping the tanker trailer. If you ever need to use the emergency brake, avoid fast steering while applying the brakes and use controlled braking.

Avoid Skidding

Don’t over-accelerate, oversteer or over-brake as these actions can cause your tank trailer to skid. Skidding is a common cause of tanker trailer accidents. If the wheels do start to skid, restore traction quickly before the trailer can jackknife. Once it jackknifes, it’s very hard to control the trailer and it usually leads to accidents. On wet or icy roads, it’s very tough to control a skidding tank trailer, so always try to drive smoothly whether your trailer is full or empty.

Brake Early

If you give yourself a long stopping distance, you will ensure the safety of your unit as well as other motorists. Additionally, it is also a good way to avoid liquid surges inside your tank trailer. Increase the stopping distance if the roads are wet or icy. And, while you need to be careful about the stopping distance when your tanker trailer is full, you need to double the stopping distance when it is empty. This is because an empty tanker is lighter and has less traction.

Plan Ahead

When driving a big rig like a tanker trailer, you need to not only anticipate braking, but also the entire trip. The liquid inside your tank is hard to control completely, so it will slosh around as you drive. When the tank isn’t completely full, the liquid increases the speed at which it travels and hits the sides of the trailer with even greater force. As the driver, you have to anticipate the movement inside your tanker trailer and make accurate adjustments to avoid damage or accidents.

Be A Responsible Driver

When full, your tanker trailer has a high center of gravity, which brings down its level of stability, so always drive carefully. When it comes to taking curves, changing lanes, or turning around, take it slow and smooth. Approach curves slowly and accelerate gradually when navigating the curve. Keep in mind that there are reasons behind road rules and speed limits and you should always follow them, even if the road seems empty.

We hope these tips help you have safer trips in the future. For more information or to get yourself a reliable tank trailer, head to Trailers of Texas in Houston. If you’re from Katy or The Woodlands, we welcome you to come and check out our inventory today!