Hurricane Safety Tips
Hurricane Dorian is predicted to hit Florida and the northern Bahamas this weekend as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, bringing intense rains and sustained winds of 130 mph, the National Hurricane Center says. The only region of severe weather will be from portions of Kansas and Nebraska stretching to Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. Watch out for areas of torrential rainfall, large hail and gusty winds in places such as Topeka, Wichita, Lincoln, Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Grand Rapids. Localized flash flooding could shut down some secondary roads or interstate ramps.
Helpful Tips Below:
1. Prepare for high winds
Before the hurricane even hits and the rain starts, there’s most likely going to be lots of strong winds in the area. Strong wind is dangerous for truck drivers because it can pull and sometimes even flip a tractor-trailer. Trucks pulling dry vans or reefers are most at risk when it comes to high winds. Also, keep in mind that strong wind gusts can damage a trailer even if it’s parked.
2. Pay attention to weather warnings
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. Also, stay up to date on road conditions during hurricane season. The U.S. Department of Transportation keeps track of road conditions and closings, so check it out to make sure you’re heading toward the safe ground.
3. Be flexible
Be prepared for schedule delays and changes. Patience is key when your trucking route is being impacted by a hurricane. Since the weather is so unpredictable, there’s no saying just how long an area will continue to be impacted by the storm. Be flexible in this situation and prepared for anything.
4. Avoid driving through high water
This one may seem obvious, but avoid driving through high water and don’t assume that piles of debris that you see are just branches and sticks. Hurricanes blow and float things around, so keep an eye on the road for any hazards up ahead. If you can’t see the road or you’re unsure, don’t just plow through it and continue onward. It’s better to stop then to run over something or someone you can’t see trapped by the storm.
· No load is worth your life or the life of other people on the road. If it gets dangerous, get off the road.
· Crosswinds with a light load make you more likely to tip over or to jackknife.
· Crosswinds can blow you into other lanes — stay alert.
· Hydroplaning (to slide uncontrollably on the wet surface of a road) can be terrifying: get your foot off the accelerator and ease onto the brakes.
· Once you’re stopped if you need to communicate with your family or dispatch, use texting as much as possible vs. phone calls. Text messages use less bandwidth, and you are more likely to get through an overloaded cellular system.