Trucking And Natural Disasters:

What You Need To Know To Be Prepared

In areas with high rates of certain types of natural disasters, being prepared for such an adverse weather event is a normal part of life. In Florida, some part of the state experience a hurricane or tropical storm almost every year. Therefore, almost every Floridian, whether he or she lives in an apartment or a mansion, has a hurricane box. Outside of Florida, “hurricane box” might sound like the name of a gadget in a science fiction movie, but in Florida, you can easily guess what is in everyone’s hurricane box. It has things you will need if your house loses electricity for several days because of a hurricane. Everyone’s hurricane box contains batteries, a battery-operated radio, and cans of “canned heat,” at the very minimum.

Flatbed trucking companies take preparedness for natural disasters to a whole new level. For truckers, being prepared for every kind of emergency is a way of life, even in the friendliest of weather conditions. The apparently leisurely existence of truckers on the open road actually requires a lot of advance planning for every step of the journey. If you are already working as a truck driver, then you are used to the level of preparation the job requires. If this is your first time driving in a natural disaster-prone area, here are some additional things you should consider:

Financial Plans

If you own your own truck or are in charge of any financial decisions at a trucking company, you will need to start making plans well in advance. On the one hand, extreme weather, such as hurricanes and snowstorms, temporarily brings travel, including the transportation of freight, to a standstill. If you work for as an independent contractor for a trucking company, driving only when they give you assignments, this could mean that your work could become sporadic. The way to plan around that is to live on less than what you make during the busier months when your work is more consistent. Another way to deal with the gaps in your pay would be to find another source of part-time work to tide you over during times when full-time truck driving work is not available.

During seasons of disastrous weather, a trucker’s life can be either busier or less busy. Trucks get food and other essential supplies where they need to go, come rain or snow. If you are the manager of a trucking company, you will need to budget to pay drivers and other workers overtime. They might need to work more than 40 hours per week to meet demand during the worst weather. If they have to drive in truly dangerous conditions, they may even require extra pay, or even extra training, for taking on a risky job.

Keeping Trucks Roadworthy in Disastrous Weather Conditions

There is a reason that natural disasters and extreme weather events are considered emergencies. Trucks and their supplies can be urgently needed on very short notice. As an independent truck driver or manager of a trucking company, it is your responsibility to keep the trucks ready to go as soon as you get the call that the client needs them. And, as a trucking industry professional, you are used to maintaining trucks and trailers before and after every trip so you will be ready.

If You Must Drive a Truck During a Severe Storm

Because of the vehicle’s strength and the driver’s high level of training and skill, you will often find commercial trucks on the road in weather conditions that personal vehicles would not dare face. Every trucker with a valid license has demonstrated knowledge of how to drive a truck safely in heavy rain or in snowy conditions. No matter how committed you are to getting the freight to its destination on time, it is important to know when to get off the road. Your safety is the most important thing. The attention to safety is especially important to truck drivers because a truck accident could cause serious injury and property damage for many more people than just the driver.

If you drive a truck during a natural disaster, always prepare for the possibility of being stranded by the side of the road for a day or more. Keep enough food and drinking water in the cab of your truck to last you three days. You should also consider keeping a battery-operated radio.

Alerting people to where you are is key to your safety and peace of mind. Getting stuck on the road during a major storm is one of the times when a cell phone really is a lifeline. Truck drivers are not the only people who normally keep cell phones and phone chargers with them in the car. Being in a remote area could make cellular service inconsistent, and the severe weather doesn’t help, but it is much better to have your phone with you than not to have it. If possible, keep a battery-operated cell phone charger in the car with you. You will need it if you are stuck for a really long time. Knowing that you can communicate with your co-workers and your family will bring you peace of mind until the weather improves.