Trucking can be a great profession for those that enjoy traveling and seeing the Country. I enjoyed my driving career over the 25 years I was behind the wheel but any experienced driver will tell you that anything can happen no matter what the weather conditions, time of year, or traffic flow. Experienced drivers know to be prepared for any conditions and that includes Mother Nature.
No doubt you have heard in the past of drivers getting snowed in during winter snow storms and being trapped in their vehicles as they wait for the road or weather conditions to clear. All it takes is an accident to close a roadway and that can happen in any weather condition. I remember one time driving through Iowa on my way to Nebraska, driving down the road I heard a message over the radio saying, “Here he comes!” and when I looked across the road I saw a vehicle coming through the median that had been cut off from the other direction. Everyone managed to stop without incident, but it just shows you that things can change in a moments notice. Over the years I have had to wait for weather to clear, accidents to be cleaned up, and roads to reopen.
You’re probably thinking right now we understand that in the winter time those types of problems can happen, but this is summer time. If you missed the message from the last paragraph conditions can change no matter what time of year and can bring safety issues that many may not think about. If you have been watching the news as of late you will certainly have heard that wildfires are front and centre in the media. Normally we hear about these in places like California, British Columbia, and other heavily wooded locations away from major roadways and hopefully populations. The fires however are creeping closer and there is now the possibility that it may cause the closure of a major highway through Ontario as we approach a holiday weekend.
How can you protect yourself as a driver? For most drivers the fact that they sleep in their trucks shutting down is not that big a deal. You have a comfortable place to sleep if you have a bunk and many have some of the amenities of home such as television etc. So what should you be worried about as a driver at this time of year?
Some items are crucial to your survival should you be shutdown on route to your destination. What you have to remember is that you won’t always be located near a truck stop or service plaza. You may be stopped in the middle of nowhere and require you to be self sufficient until things clear up.
Here are a few tips to help you survive a road closure:
- Run on the premise of the top side of your fuel tank. Fuel will allow you to remain comfortable while sleeping and be able to move if you are diverted off route.
- Keep emergency food supplies in the truck. Many drivers may have food with them but some use truck stops. It never hurts to keep food supplies like peanut butter, crackers, or other non perishable items that can be accessed in an emergency. It is best to keep this outside of your normal food supply.
- Keep extra water in your vehicle. Even in my car when I fuel up I like to keep two or three bottles of water in the car at any point in time. It may be warm but it will keep you alive.
- Keep your communication devices fully charged and in good order. If you have to call for help it is important that your device can reach the help you need.
- Keep communications open with other drivers so that you know what conditions are like up the road.
- If you are trapped in a situation such as a road closure work with others. Be helpful to others and do your best to be a team player. Many personal vehicles won’t be as prepared for a shutdown the way professional drivers are. If they need help do your best to help, you are all in the situation together.
I don’t want to scare you but it is always best to be prepared. With fires looming out of control and a Civic Holiday weekend upon us it is always best to be prepared. Have a great holiday weekend and please be safe out there on the roadways.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com