Hurricane season is here and it’s time to take the necessary steps to make sure your business is prepared and your safety plan is intact. Although storms and hurricanes cannot always be predictable, being prepared helps you protect your business the best way you can. Take a second to refresh on these top Hurricane Safety tips to keep you safe on and off the road this season.
1. First and foremost, before taking on the road, be sure to check the weather and adhere to any storm warnings. No load is worth risking your safety, especially in the wake of a severe tropical storm or hurricane. Download the mobile app, NOAA on your iPhone or Android to stay up to date on if a state emergency has been issued for your area or road closings in effect.
2. Plan ahead for high winds. Before a hurricane hits, strong winds are likely to accompany it. With high winds comes a higher chance of damage for vehicles on the road, especially dry vans and reefers. Even pre-hurricane winds can damage parked vehicles, so before taking a load in an area, calculate the risks too. Cross-winds with a lighter load could cause your truck to tip over or jack-knife if the wind is above 58 mph.
3. Do you know your weather terms? When checking your weather mobile app, make sure you know the severity of each storm alert to assess whether it is too high-risk to drive in that area. Pay attention to if an area is under watch or warning. Here’s a recap on the most common terms used by the National Weather Service for Hurricane Alerts:
- Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical or post-tropical cyclone. The hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
- Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. The warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
4. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes trained to check the surrounding areas for indications that the weather is worsening or areas that are at higher risk for travel. For example, tunnels can cause a stronger cross wind when crossing as well as carrying lighter loads over bridges or hills. When in doubt slow down, it’s best to slow down then chance your truck tipping. Concentrating on the road and your surroundings will allow you to spot red flags like high water or high winds ahead of time so you can prepare accordingly.
5. Be Open and Flexible with Your Plans: This seems like a no-brainer, but be patient and prepared for delays because of the storms. Weather is un-predictable and so are the other drivers on the road, the best way to be in control is to prepare ahead of time for your own business, and be able to “roll with the punches” of the storms. No load is worth risking your life or the safety of others, when in doubt pull over and stay up to date on the current weather conditions before getting back on the road.