Unfortunately, truck breaks down usually happen when they are least expected and truck drivers can find themselves stuck in the middle of nowhere miles from the nearest town or truck stop.
Having your truck break down can be a frustrating and stressful experience, especially if it is causing delays to an important delivery. Furthermore, broken down trucks may also cause a significant accident risk on busier highways or roads with lots of bends. Extreme weather such as heat can also become a danger for stranded truck drivers, causing health issues including dehydration and heat stroke whilst exposure to colder weather could lead to hypothermia.
Even though it is impossible to fully prepare for unexpected breakdowns, which often occur in hard-to-reach places and at inconvenient times, there are steps truck drivers can take so they are ready to deal with a breakdown anywhere.
For logistics managers and truck drivers, considering their breakdown contingency plans, here are six things experienced and well-trained truck drivers do when a breakdown occurs halfway through a journey.
Ensure Your Truck Is Visible
When your truck breaks down one of the first things you should do after pulling off the road is making sure your truck is highly visible. There are several ways to bring attention to a broken-down truck. According to designers of heavy use trucks working with Allplant Auto Electrics the most effective safety equipment includes side flashers and emergency safety beacons on top of driver cabins. In addition, drivers should place standing warning triangles behind the truck at intervals and ensure the truck’s tail lights are on and its hazard lights are flashing. Another way of indicating that a truck is broken down and causing a hazard is to open and tilt the hood.
Properly Park Off The Road
As soon as truck drivers realize their truck is having mechanical problems and is going to break down, they should immediately use signal lights to alert other road users that they are going to merge onto the roadside. If truck drivers break down on a bend or a road with many curves then it is advised to coast along the side of the road if possible to find an exit or straight piece of road. Parking a truck on or near a bend in the road is particularly dangerous as oncoming traffic may not see a broken down truck easily. In addition, to carefully pulling over onto the side of a straight road, truck drivers should also ensure there is a clear and safe passing gap between the truck and the inside passing lane to decrease the risk of accidents.
Evaluate the Situation
One of the most important things to do when your truck breaks down is to remain calm, take a deep breath and assess the situation. Breakdowns can occur in isolated locations or during bad weather so after setting up hazard lights and signs, it is a good idea to spend a moment taking note of the mechanical problems, surroundings, and weather. Experienced truck drivers are likely to stay calm during breakdowns, resulting in better decision making which can limit risks and help get the truck back on the road faster.
The next step after weighing up the situation is to call for help so the truck can either be repaired on the spot or towed to a garage. Truck drivers working for a logistics company can often make use of the truck’s radio system to request assistance whilst other truckers may need to use mobile devices. Truckers can also contact local police or emergency services, especially if they are stranded in the middle of nowhere in bad weather with a limited supply of food and water.
Stay With Your Truck
Trucks are often carrying expensive cargo and are also valuable vehicles themselves, therefore truck drivers should stay with their truck when it breaks down to reduce the risk of theft which could result in heavy financial losses for the company and driver.
Another, possibly more important reason for truck drivers to remain with their vehicles, is the protection it provides from wild animals and dangerous weather conditions including extreme heat, heavy rain, driving snow, and strong winds.
6. Find Shade and Keep Hydrated
Sometimes trucks break down during the height of summer or whilst traveling through the desert, in these cases truck drivers need to be wary of the effects of dehydration and heatstroke. In remote areas, assistance may take hours to arrive, so to stay comfortable and avoid health risks, truck drivers need to create or find adequate shade and make sure they are drinking plenty of water.
Truck breakdowns can happen anywhere at any time, which is why truck drivers and logistics companies should develop a clear plan of what to do in the case of breakdowns.