Staying Safe in a Storm: How to React When You’re On the Road

December 6, 2016 Comments Off on Staying Safe in a Storm: How to React When You’re On the Road

Carriers experience all types of weather on the road, including dangerous storms. An important reminder: The driver is the most important cargo 100% of the time. If caught in a storm, park in a safe, legal location and wait it out until it’s safe to get back on the road. Never stop in traffic or emergency lanes. Always be aware of your surroundings and plan for the unexpected.

The following tips can help you be on the defensive when weathering the storm.

Snow and Ice

  • Ice may first build up around the truck, particularly the west coast mirrors, other mirrors on your truck, antennae and windshield corners
  • Look for black ice using clues such as road surfaces that appear wet, but with little or no spray coming from vehicle tires
  • Approach overpasses, bridges and traffic lights cautiously
  • Proceed carefully at all traffic lights, intersections and stop signs
  • Brake and accelerate lightly
  • Avoid cruise control

Heavy Winds

  • Anticipate severe weather by paying close attention to the radar using websites such as Weather Underground
  • Keep an eye out for areas prone to heavy wind gusts such as bridges and plateaus
  • Watch for large vehicles that could swerve due to wind gusts
  • Avoid deadheading or bobtailing during high winds

Severe Rain

  • Reduce speed as needed to maintain traction; rain reduces the amount of friction your vehicle creates with the road surface and increases the risk of hydroplaning
  • Turn on all lights to ensure your vehicle remains visible to all around you
  • Increase your space cushion with the vehicles in front of you

Dust Storm

  • As soon as possible, reduce speed and find a safe place to pull over
  • Turn off all lights once pulled over – lights can act as a guide to other drivers who may think you’re in the roadway
  • Take your foot off the brake after pulling over
  • Remain in the vehicle until the storm passes

 

Most importantly, pull over and park in a safe and legal location if you feel unsafe or if conditions worsen. Safe protocol for all situations includes:

  • After exiting the road and parking, turn on hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until the storm passes (except during dust storms)
  • Plan for the unexpected – you may be caught in a winter storm for a few days so pack enough supplies to get you through
  • Never overdrive your visibility
  • Keep a continuous and close eye on your surroundings
  • Allow everybody on the road enough space to account for unforeseen issues

How do you prepare for bad weather? Share your tips on Facebook or Twitter at @JBHuntCarrier!

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