It is November also known as one of the most unstable weather months each year. It is possible to leave home on a beautiful sunny day and be in a snow storm less than an hour later. In fact on the news it was reported that this same time last year Buffalo New York had a record snowfall that left many stuck on the Interstate for days and countless accidents. That week we had no snow an hour a way in Burlington. This year we are having an awesome week with double digit numbers and beautiful sunny skies.
It is good practice for any motorist to be prepared for bad weather, but in truth many of us don’t do it. Oh sure, we keep a set of cables in the car, or an extra jug of windshield washer but that is usually about it. We should be carrying much more but we know that we are only a cab ride away from home or within the reach for help of family and friends.
Truck drivers however are quite different and should prepare more diligently than a driver working a few miles from home. A professional driver can travel thousands of miles in a week and cross the country in a matter of days. You might leave home on a Monday morning and be in California on Thursday. You may leave on a beautiful day from home and be in a snow storm a short time down the road. This has happened many times and their are countless news articles on people stuck in storms across the country. It doesn’t have be just weather related areas holding you up on the road. Many times I have slept in my truck during my career on the highway while an accident is being cleaned up for hours on end. These type of situations are normal for most professional drivers and you will encounter delays like this at some point in your career.
So how do you prepare for such delays and emergencies on the road? First is to make sure you are prepared no matter what time of year it is. Just like all boats must have a life jacket, all trucks should have emergency supplies. I am not talking about your fire extinguisher or medical kit, I am talking about extra food, blankets, and other supplies. I suggest creating a safety pack that you don’t use except in emergency situations and you keep it under the bunk, but accessible.
In your safety pack you want some food that won’t go bad or have to be cooked. Keep extra water in the truck at all times. Even though you may drink this over the week buy extra so you have some should a emergency arise. Crackers, cereals, and other dry foods are usually good food items for storage. You can also swap your food out every six months or so as required. For warmth extra blankets are good and a winter coat or even better snow suit should be packed in the kit. Items like candles, matches, spare batteries, flashlights, and other safety items should be included. Think dark of night, your truck shuts down, and there are no cars coming down the road. What would you need? Putting these items in a separate bag with a list, note paper, pencils, etc are a good idea for storage. Don’t assume the weather will stay the same from area to area. Be safe and you will enjoy your time as a professional driver.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years and is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile for professional drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training industry ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your areas visit www.ttsao.com