According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we are in for an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30, covers the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea and produces hurricanes that make landfall in the U.S. While long-lasting, hurricane season will typically see its peak between mid-August to late October.
As essential workers, truck drivers are no strangers to hurricanes. Last year, we discussed how fleet managers can utilize innovative technology to keep drivers as safe as possible this time of year. This year, we will focus on how drivers can further protect themselves this hurricane season with these five actionable checklist items.
Tip #1: Don’t forget to prepare for the before, during, and after
Before a hurricane hits, there are various ways drivers can prepare themselves and their cabs for the storm. We’ll touch on those ways shortly, but we want to emphasize that drivers can — and should — prepare for the worst-case scenarios, including getting caught in the middle of the hurricane or its aftermath.
While it is always imperative that you aim to be off the road during a hurricane, you should get off the road as slowly and carefully as possible if you find yourself stuck in one. While driving during and after a hurricane, avoid driving through pools of water. Standing water can hide fallen power lines and sinkholes and may look far less deep than it is.
Tip #2: Get ahead of the weather — and your route
The National Weather Service will issue three different kinds of alerts with impending hurricanes. The first alert is an advisory, which signifies potentially hazardous, but mostly non-life-threatening inconveniences. The second alert is a watch, which indicates a potential tropical storm or hurricane within 48 hours. The third and most crucial alert is a warning signifying an impending tropical storm or hurricane within 36 hours.
If you’re driving in areas that are potentially sensitive to hurricanes, look through your planned route before you go to stay in the know on how to prepare best. If you are driving through one of these areas, be sure to tune into the local weather radio station and continuously monitor weather updates.
Tip #3: Remember that safety and flexibility go hand in hand
Nothing is worth jeopardizing your safety. The sheer weight and size of commercial motor vehicles, coupled with weather-related incidents, can result in massive disasters on the road.
Any reasonable customer or manager should and must understand that your safety is the top priority while you are on the road, so keep a flexible mentality. Communicate delays to your routes as needed, and remember slow and safe is better than fast and sorry.
Tip #4: Practice open communication
While experienced fleet managers and dispatchers prioritize driver safety, they’re not in the driver’s seat. Keep the lines of communication with them open, so they know what you see when you see it.
Open communication also helps back-office teams reroute you as needed, so you can further avoid dangerous routes altogether.
Tip #5: Equip your truck with the right necessities
In addition to the right telematics solutions, you should ensure your cab is fully stocked with the proper necessities on the road. Here are the vital supplies you’ll want to keep on hand:
- Bottled water and non-perishable food
- Rain gear, such as umbrellas, ponchos, and boots
- A pack of different types of batteries
- A flashlight or headlamp
- A portable phone charger
- Protective cold-weather gear, including gloves, warm clothing, and blankets
Whether you’re a trucker or not, you can still prepare for a hurricane. Check out these hurricane safety tips and resources from the National Weather Service.