There is always something happening in the world of weather. Whether, see what we did there, it’s rain, snow, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding, extreme cold or heat, etc., each condition affects the trucking and logistics industry in its own unique way. Of course, this can make things extremely complicated. No need to fear, though, because LYNC is here! Sadly, we cannot control Mother Nature, but we can help both carriers and shippers learn how different weather events can affect them so that you can prepare ahead of time to handle any punches thrown your way. To do this, we’re starting a new blog series all about, you guessed it, weather! For installment one, we’re going to focus on summer weather. Let’s dive in!
What to Expect During Hurricane Season
“In the eye of the hurricane there is quiet… for just a moment.” – Hamilton
From June through November, all eyes turn to the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st, but in the United States, things don’t typically ramp up until between mid-August and mid-October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, better known as NOAA, says the peak of hurricane season falls on September 10th. For the seventh year in a row, NOAA is bracing for an above-average hurricane season. This is not news that either carriers or shippers want to hear. However, the key is to prepare before the storm. Pay attention to forecasts from the National Weather Center and National Hurricane Center all season long. If forecasters are tracking a hurricane that could make landfall, act fast. Here’s a list of preparation and general hurricane safety tips to follow:
- Fleet owners, make sure you have a way to communicate with drivers, especially those driving routes in areas that could be impacted. It’s important to also have a backup plan just in case a driver loses reception.
- If you have trucks stationed in areas bracing for a storm, move your equipment to higher ground. Hurricane flooding can do significant damage to your trucks.
- Protect your trucks from hurricane-force winds by parking them close together. Put trucks with empty or light loads in the middle since they can be knocked over.
- Drivers, keep an emergency preparedness kit with you in your truck. We suggest always traveling with emergency supplies just in case anyway, but especially when severe weather is on the horizon. For hurricanes, keep flashlights, bottled water, non-perishable food items, clothes, rain gear, extra batteries, and a wind-up weather radio that can be used to keep you informed and charge your devices in your truck.
- “Turn around, don’t drown.” Avoid driving through flooded areas. Not only could you get stuck, but the road may have washed away during the storm.
- Fill up gas tanks before a storm. Prices typically increase at the pump when severe weather is expected. Some stations even run out of gas when people are evacuating.
- In the event of high winds, use extreme caution when traveling over bridges over overpasses. Those winds could easily knock a trailer on its side.
- For truck drivers transporting supplies to help with post-storm recovery efforts, watch for downed powerlines and debris that may be scattered on the roadways.
- Be patient. This tip is for both carriers and shippers. Hurricanes are unpredictable. If evacuation orders are put in place, prepare for extremely crowded roadways. Heavy traffic can delay shipments. Our team at LYNC can help everyone navigate any issues that arise.
- Stay safe. This is the most important tip of them all. Remember, your life matters!
Dealing with Really Hot, Hot, Hot Temperatures
Nothing says “summer” like a heat wave. Dangerous temperatures have plagued many areas across the United States this year. Canada has also been experiencing abnormally warm temperatures. Heat can take its toll on both trucks and drivers. With trucks, keep in mind that tires and heat don’t mix since heat causes the air pressure in tires to increase. Over and underinflated tires can be extremely dangerous and lead to blowouts. The best way to avoid problems is to check the tire pressure regularly. Retreaded tires can cause dangerous problems for trucks and other drivers. Heat can cause sections to come unglued, leaving behind “road gators,” which have a reputation for causing wrecks. Besides tires, here are a few other things to keep an eye on:
- AC units – No driver wants to get behind the wheel and learn that their air conditioning unit isn’t functioning. The temperature in an enclosed vehicle can be over 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. Driving in a vehicle where the temperature is around 130-140°F is not safe at all.
- Engine belts – Make sure that all engine belts are secured properly. Water pump and fan performance can be affected if any are loose. This can lead to engine failure, which is expensive and can delay a load from reaching its destination on time.
- Coolant levels – Unusual fluctuations in coolant gauges should not be ignored. High coolant levels can lead to engine failure, while low levels can cause overheating.
- Brakes – If brakes and brake pads are not in good condition, problems could be lurking. Heat can cause a chain reaction of terrible events for brakes: loss of friction = overheating = loss of brake power
- YOU – Drivers, you need to keep cool. We encourage you to stay hydrated and seek help if you start feeling sick because you could be experiencing a heat-related illness. Each year, hundreds of people die as a result of heat. We do not want you to be added to that statistic. Please also wear sunscreen and 100% UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
We’ve Got Your Back
Preparing for a major summer weather event is easier said than done. Thankfully, technology allows forecasters to track hurricanes days before they make landfall. Despite all of the uncertainties that come with summer weather, our team at LYNC is here to help. Shippers, we know how important it is that your shipment is delivered to its destination on time. That’s why we stick with you from start to finish. Throughout your shipment’s journey, we keep an eye on any and all factors that could cause a delay or problem. Carriers, we’ve got your back too. You can trust us to guide your fleet through these issues and others that could come up.