June 29, 2022
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As hurricane season approaches, it’s important that truck drivers understand how to stay safe while on the road in bad weather. The keys to staying safe while driving in hurricane season are to be prepared and to stay informed.
Drivers should avoid deep water, keep an emergency kit (including paper maps of the area) in their truck at all times, and plan an alternate route (if possible) to avoid driving during a tropical storm or hurricane. Never be afraid to contact your dispatch to let them know you need to get off the road and out of harm’s way if the weather conditions are too severe for you to drive safely.
If a hurricane is forecasted to hit an area you’ll be traveling through, the best course of action is to pull over, park, and wait for the storm to pass. Driving in dangerous weather is far more dangerous than driving when roads are clear, and no load is worth losing your life.
Strong winds can flip a tractor trailer. And reefer loads and dry goods are especially at risk. Tropical storm winds often come with heavy rains, too. And driving in pouring rain can be very dangerous. Use your best judgment, but don’t be afraid to pull over, park, and wait for the storm to pass.
If you have no choice but to drive during a hurricane, there are some safety precautions you should take to protect yourself and other drivers as much as possible. Below are five safety tips to help keep you safe in case of a last minute major storm that can’t be avoided.
If severe weather is forecasted for your route, it is more important than ever that you perform a thorough vehicle inspection before heading out. You want your truck to be in good working condition without any potential issues before you potentially venture into a storm.
If the winds get too high, you need to pull over and park your truck. Even if you’re not in the hurricane yet, you may experience heavy rains and high winds. Strong winds can flip a tractor trailer, and if your trailer is empty you are particularly at risk.
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulates how many hours a trucker can drive and when you need to take a break. But when you’re driving in severe storms, it is even more critical that you are well-rested when driving. Stay alert to road conditions, and make sure to keep an eye on your surroundings for signs that you may need to park your rig.
Any time you’re driving a semi truck in poor road conditions it’s recommended to slow down. This is especially true when driving in hurricane or tropical storm conditions. Curves, ramps, and turns all pose a heavier risk during high winds and rain. So slow down to get to your destination safely.
When driving during a storm, truckers should continuously check the Department of Transportation (DOT) information on weather and road conditions. Storms can change course rapidly, and you don’t want to get caught by surprise by flooded roads. Flooded roads pose a serious risk to truckers. Many truck drivers think that their trucks can drive through flooded streets with no problem. And because of the height and weight of semi trucks, you may have an easier time navigating floodwaters than personal vehicles. But there could be deep holes, debris, and downed power lines on the road beneath the water.