A famous adage goes something like, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” In an emergency, a failure to prepare could mean tragedy.
As a valued carrier, your safety is essential. To help prepare you for the worst, we’ve compiled eight suggestions for common emergencies to help you be prepared.
Though these suggestions come from safety experts, they are just that: suggestions. Ultimately, it’s always best to exercise your best judgment and use common sense when placed in a dangerous situation.
If your brakes fail, downshifting is your best bet for slowing down your truck. Once you’ve downshifted, look for open areas to let your truck peter out. Open fields, side streets, and runaway truck areas all make for ideal options.
Once stopped, be sure to signal your hazards to promote visibility.
When a tire blowout occurs, resisting the urge to slam on the brakes can be difficult. Instead, remove your foot from the gas, begin to downshift, and allow your truck to roll to a natural stop. This approach will prevent any kind of loss of control.
Like brake failure, proceed to signal your hazards and make accommodations to have your tires repaired.
If your truck begins to plume smoke or flames are directly visible, immediately pull over and park away from anything especially flammable. If possible, disconnect your trailer and call 911.
In most cases, utilizing your fire extinguisher to douse the flames will be your best course of action. Exceptions include:
- If your engine has caught fire, keep your hood closed to prevent oxygen from further stoking the flames.
- If you are faced with a cargo fire, you should keep trailer doors closed for the same reason.
- Water will be ineffective if a tire has caught fire. In this situation, use sand or dirt to choke out the flames.
Otherwise, be sure to point your fire extinguisher at the base of the flames for best results.
No matter the season, your best time to prepare for a blizzard is now. In case a winter storm stops you dead in your treads, ensure your truck is equipped with an emergency kit that includes a blanket, snow clothing, dried foods, water, and a light source.
If you must trek through a blizzard, slow down, use your low beams, and put plenty of space between yourself and the next vehicle. These best practices will increase your visibility and the likelihood of avoiding a collision.
Though unlikely, some truckers may find themselves toe-to-tornado with a twister. Unless you can quickly enter a nearby building for shelter, it’s best to direct your truck to an area below ground level. Once you’ve secured a spot, put your head between your knees to avoid flying debris.
Truckers should take special care in this situation to avoid parking near large structures to avoid likely debris. Be patient in waiting out a tornado as rapid winds could continue long after its passing.
Medical emergencies can occur in an instant. Whether a heart attack, dizziness, or a stroke, it’s important to signal your hazards and pull over immediately. Once you are stationed, you can make a judgment call about whether to dial 911 depending on the severity of the emergency.
Most crashes related to medical emergencies are the product of a delayed decision to pull over. If you’re ever feeling strange, it’s better to be safe and late than sorry and never arrive at all.
The best way to deal with a thief is never to meet one in the first place. To prevent a would-be robber, know your freight. If your cargo is especially valuable and susceptible to theft, exercise caution when choosing places to park your truck. Well-lit, heavily populated areas are ideal.
Though it may not seem the most obvious solution, it also pays to keep your rig clean. Thieves will often target dirty and neglected trucks, so a little shine can deter disaster.
Did you know that the average semi-truck breaks down every 10,000 miles? When this inevitable emergency happens to you, be sure to flip on your hazards and pull over in the widest space possible. Stay aware of your surroundings as robbers can sometimes capitalize on the helpless nature of a stalled trucker.
Once pulled over, place your triangles and flares if visibility is poor due to bad weather. Notify dispatch of your situation. Proceed to cautiously inspect your vehicle to see if you can make repairs on your own. If not, contact a professional or a towing service.
When your career involves the daily operation of an 80,000 lb. vehicle, emergencies can happen quickly. No one can truly prevent all emergencies, but if you’re prepared, you can make the best out of the worst situations.
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