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5 Ways the Heat and Hurricane Season Can Affect Trucking Operations and How to Avoid Major Problems

August 21st, 2012

Bad Weather Trucking

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The heat and hurricane season brings with it concerns from many people in different industries, and trucking operations is no exception. Here is a list of what you can do to avoid some common pitfalls.

1: Equipment

Bad weather leads to extra debris on the road, and wet conditions can exacerbate that problem. Hot weather could lead to blown tires or refrigeration unit breakdowns, which can cost hours of time. To prevent this problem, make sure that you have regular maintenance done on all your equipment. Pre-trip your reefer unit and do a walk around of your trailer to make sure everything is in good working order before you set off. Keep a list of maintenance vendors along route in case of a break down. You may choose a managed maintenance service such as Fleetnet.  Services like this can assist with breakdowns, particularly in rural areas where maintenance vendor contacts are limited.

2: Cargo Claims

Temperatures fluctuate wildly in this season. To prepare yourself, take the time to understand the potential pitfalls of each account. Know what cargo is particularly sensitive to extreme temperatures, such as fresh meat and produce. Understand that an “Act of God” is one of five common law defenses printed on the back of the Standard Bill of Lading which may be used in defense of cargo claims that are the direct result of a natural disaster such as hurricane damage.

3: Power Loss

When storms get violent, power goes down and technology becomes unreliable. With the transportation industry being so reliant on technology these days, this can be a major problem. To avoid this pitfall, be sure that you have a good emergency backup system in place in case your main network goes down.  Many companies are switching to cloud IT solutions with redundancy for this reason.  Run test scenarios regularly to make sure you know what to do and be prepared to communicate with remote offices affected by a network outage.

4: Closed Roads and Detours

Especially in the coastal states, hurricane season can bring flash flooding that will wash out bridges and make roads impossible to travel. Similarly, heavy snow can shut down traffic for miles around. You can navigate past these problems by making sure you have at least one alternate route planned if a main road gets shut down. By watching weather reports and listening to the radio, you can also predict bad weather and traffic delays before they happen.

5: Dangerous Driving Conditions

Hurricane conditions can cause some serious problems for drivers, even with large heavy vehicles like trucks. The pressure of getting to a delivery on a deadline is immense, and some drivers may be tempted to drive faster than conditions allow. Always resist this urge and take breaks as needed. Good route planning and safe, efficient driving will get deliveries there sooner than risky driving and long days without rest.

Weather can affect the trucking industry in many ways but with patience and planning, these problems can be mitigated. Being well-prepared will help to handle heat and hurricane season.

Posted on August 21st, 2012 in Trucking Tips