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Truck Driver Safety Tips To Remember During Natural Disasters

Friday, April 26th, 2019
truck driver safety tips for storms and natural disasters

Truck drivers often think of safety when it comes to loading and unloading trailers or driving around others. This type of consistent safety is vital, but it is also important to understand how to stay safe during sudden natural disasters.

Hurricanes

If you think you may be driving somewhere that will be in the path of a hurricane, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

  • First, pay attention to weather forecasts and warnings. You should know where your route is before you leave on a job. Also, be sure to look at local road conditions in areas where you will be going.
  • Next, be prepared for high winds. They can be damaging and even deadly.
  • Do not drive through water.
  • Because of the dangerous nature of wind, rain, and debris, you may have to be flexible and reschedule pickups or deliveries.
  • Finally, be in contact with others as much as possible during weather events. But, remember not to use your phone while driving your truck.

Tornadoes

These weather events are more likely to occur between March and August, but they can happen at any time. One thing that makes them so scary is that they can appear almost out of nowhere. Even if you cannot avoid driving in an area that is prone to tornadoes, you should watch the weather along your route.

One of the best truck driver safety tips is to not get stuck where there is a tornado. If there is a tornado watch or warning, do not ignore it. Your life is not worth your cargo. If you know there is a tornado coming towards you, you have a few options, but they may not work depending upon the conditions.

  • You can safely park your truck, put your head down below the windows and windshield, and cover yourself with a blanket or coat.
  • If you are able to safely drive out of the path of the tornado, this is your best option.
  • Find somewhere like a ravine, ditch, or culvert that is lower than the surrounding ground.
  • DO NOT seek shelter under an overpass. Debris will be channeled through an overpass or under a bridge in high winds.

Earthquakes

Although earthquakes usually hit areas that are located along a fault line, they have been known to happen in other areas. There is no warning about when an earthquake will occur. If you are driving your truck, loading, or unloading your trailer, you must take shelter somewhere safe.

Move away from areas with buildings, powerlines, bridges, or trees. If you are driving, slow down, find somewhere safe to stop, and stay in your truck. Listen to the radio for instructions from authorities and do not get on your phone. Avoid cracks in the road when you begin driving again and never drive over utility lines.

Floods

Floods can either be gradual or sudden. When it is raining for long periods of time, floodwaters will rise more slowly, but with flash floods, you often have no warning. For truckers, it can be tempting to drive through areas with intense rains to meet deadlines. If there are barricades, do not ignore them. Never drive through standing or running water either because you don’t know how deep it is.

If you see other vehicles driving through water and they are safe, take note. You should be able to drive through if the flooding has stopped. Even though your truck is large, you should still proceed slowly and with caution. Be sure to avoid going through water with electrical wires and always check your brakes if you suspect they have become wet. If you see that the water is running, even if it seems low, do not cross.

Snowstorms

All drivers on the road should practice safety, not just truckers. However, truck drivers can take these steps to help keep everyone on the road safer.

  • Slow down. You should never speed, especially in snowy or icy conditions, and even going the speed limit can be too fast. When slowing down, do not use the jake brake and don’t overuse the foot brake.
  • Only pull over in a safe area, such as a parking lot.
  • Do not follow behind other vehicles too closely. If you can see taillights through the snow, you are too close.
  • Before you leave on your route, prepare your truck and trailer. This means making sure the brakes, heater, lights, washer fluid, and engine all work properly. Your tank should also be full of fuel.

Use safety equipment in all weather conditions

All truck drivers can benefit from using safety equipment. In bad weather, it is best to have these tools and supplies prepared beforehand. Snow chains, traction mats, ice scrapers, a weather radio, and extra clothing are great for snowy or rainy weather. Extra food, water, fuel, and blankets are something you should always have on your truck. Using a trailer safety ladder can also help, especially if you have to check your cargo in the elements.

Trailer safety ladders with Gateway Supply

To learn more about truck driver safety and trailer safety, call Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas. We are the U.S. Distributor for the Deckmate Ladder, a highly-rated trailer safety ladder. This device was made with truckers in mind. You can reach us at (806) 665-7990 or Send Us an Email for more information about our Products.