Driving Safe During a Hurricane
Forecasters are predicting another major storm season in 2018. Seven of the fourteen predicted tropical storms are expected to become hurricanes, according to researchers at Colorado State University. Of the seven hurricanes, three are expected to be classified at a Category 3 or higher, with winds reaching 111 miles per hour or higher.
While there’s always a chance that your area could be struck by extreme weather, if you are a truck driver, severe weather creates unique challenges. The impact of dangerous storms can include damage to shipments and equipment, washed-out roads, route changes, downtime, price hikes due to an increase in fuel costs and a pause in scheduled deliveries in order to provide relief and emergency supplies to those in need.
Here are 5 hurricane driving safety tips for truck drivers
1. Be prepared
We can’t emphasize it enough – be prepared! If you’re in an area that is likely to sustain a tropical storm, check the local weather and newscasts regularly, and be ready to reroute or leave if an official evacuation is announced. Keep your fuel tank full and don’t wait until the last minute to change your plans. If you procrastinate, you run the risk of getting caught in traffic or, worse, the storm intensifies around you.
2. Get ready for high winds
Strong winds are challenging for truck drivers because they can pull and even flip a tractor trailer. When it comes to high winds, rigs pulling dry vans or reefers are most at risk. Keep in mind that a strong wind gust can damage a trailer even if it’s parked.
3. Pay attention to weather warnings
If there is a state of emergency in a certain area, you may want to consider taking a different route or delaying shipment to that area. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) keeps track of road conditions and closings, so check the DOT National Traffic and Road Closure Information webpage frequently during hurricane season.
4. Be flexible
Try to relax and be patient if your trucking route is impacted by a major storm. Be prepared for schedule delays and changes. Weather can be unpredictable so you really can’t plan ahead for how long the area will continue to be impacted by the storm. Try to stay as flexible and prepared for the unknown as possible.
5. Avoid driving through high water
It’s really dangerous to drive through high water as there could be piles of debris in the water that you can’t avoid. High winds can blow all kinds of things like branches, outdoor furniture, garbage and other unknowns into murky waters. Don’t take a chance – it’s better to stop than to run over something that causes harm to your rig or be trapped by the storm.
Keep in mind that hurricane season starts June 1st. There’s a good chance that storms will impact many states and cities in the eastern U.S. Remember these hurricane safety tips and stay safe out there!
AAOO is dedicated to helping commercial motor carrier owner-operators stay safe. Start living a safer, healthier and wealthier lifestyle today by becoming a member of AAOO.