An estimated 1,300 people die each year due to extreme heat. This number may be even higher, and it’s projected to rise as temperatures increase globally.
Being prepared means taking a few precautions before you hit the road.
- Ensure that cooling systems in your rig are in good working order
- Check and fill all of your truck’s fluids (and keep extra fluids onboard)
- Keep yourself hydrated
- When you can, drive in the early morning and late at night when it’s cooler
- Wear protective coverings (sunglasses, hat, etc.) when working in the heat
- Take frequent breaks to cool off
It’s important to make sure your tires are also properly inflated. Extreme heat increases the temperature of the road and can lead to blowouts.
Tornado Alley is a swath of land that sees 30% of all tornadoes each year in the U.S. Approximately 17 million people live on these 500,000 square miles across 15 states. Of the 59 Category 5 tornadoes that have occurred in the U.S., 22 hits in Tornado Alley.
If you are a truck driver or a fleet manager across this stretch of land, make sure you are adequately insured. When a tornado touches down, the best bet is to drive the other way. Getting away from a twister can keep you safe and may save your life.
If you can’t, take a look at these severe weather safety tips to prepare for the inevitable.
- Keep an eye out for warning signs: hail; loud, rumbling sounds; dark or greenish skies; swirling debris or clouds
- If you can’t avoid the tornado, pull over and protect yourself
- Stay in the truck and get low in the cab
- Keep your truck away from structures that might collapse under heavy winds
- If you are out of your truck and in a stable structure, stay where you are until the tornado passes
The best way to stay safe is to avoid tornadoes in the first place. Keep your radio on and listen for the emergency broadcast system. A tornado watch means conditions are ripe for tornadoes, but a warning means that one has been spotted, and you should shelter immediately.
From 1995 to 2019, nearly 1,700 people drowned in floods in the U.S. Often accompanying a tornado or hurricane, flooding occurs frequently in low-lying areas, washing out bridges and covering roadways.
Heavy, flooding rain also comes with poor visibility. Slow down to increase your braking distance and decrease the chances of hydroplaning.
There is really only one way to deal with flooding. Do not drive through standing water that you cannot see the bottom of. Many innocent-looking pools of standing water caused by hurricanes are filled with swirling debris and are deeper than you think. Water can rip bridges off of their pilings, and it can send even a fully loaded tractor-trailer downstream. When in doubt, follow this safety precaution: “Don’t drown; turn around.”
Even after storms have passed, stay alert. Flash floods can occur up to 12 hours after the skies have cleared. Pay attention to your route and be prepared to make changes to it.