By now we’ve all seen the devastation from the tornado outside of Oklahoma City. While writing this, the death toll is around 24 and over 200 injured.
Professional truck drivers travel to all parts of North America. The various regions offer varying weather and climate year round and all regions have severe weather. It’s important to be aware of the challenges and know how to deal with the dangers that severe weather presents.
We often need to drive in bad weather such as thunder storms or winter storms. While it’s not fun, often we can keep on our way with caution. Slower speeds and increased following distances go a long way to safely negotiating poor driving conditions. We have to make decisions how to drive through these conditions and when we need to shut it down.
Severe weather is more dangerous than bad weather. Severe summer weather such as tornadoes, flash floods and hurricanes often cause massive damage and can be lethal. These storms usually develop quickly and once started can be unpredictable. With a little knowledge, and preparation before you leave, you can minimize your risk.
Before you start your trip check the weather forecast for your route. This can be the first place to get a heads up about bad weather which might, at least, cause a delay. In tornado alley they can usually see 24 hours in advance if conditions will be favorable for tornadoes to develop. That’s to say; all the pieces of the puzzle will exists for a tornado and once the storm starts they’ll see if rotation starts. Hurricanes show their hand early and start off the coast which can provide warnings days in advance. Flash floods happen on the plains during thunder storms and tornadoes. Flash flooding can wipe out entire towns and aren’t really predictable – you’ll know as it happens.
Do some research and have a way to find, on demand, current weather info and emergency numbers and agencies for the jurisdictions you’ll go to and through. This can be sites or apps on your phone or phone numbers for info lines. Most places use 511 for road conditions.
Severe summer weather can close roads and knock out infrastructure necessary to go down the road for days. You may be left without a place to buy water, food and fuel. You’ll want to take food and water, and ensure during your trip, you have enough fuel in your truck if you think you might encounter severe weather.
Pack a small emergency kit for your truck containing a flashlight, portable battery powered radio with weather band capabilities, packs of batteries for flash light and radio, work gloves, and rain slick to keep dry outside of the truck. Don’t install the batteries into the flashlight or radio until you need them. Batteries slowly discharge once installed even when the devices are off.
At Len Dubois Trucking safety is our number one priority. We understand no delivery time is so important to take unnecessary risks. When our drivers conclude they need to shut down due to bad or severe weather they just need to contact dispatch and clients/consignees affected. If you are prepared and plan a head you can avoid finding yourself in a bad way. Severe weather will only be a delay.