Driving can be hazardous at any time, but the dangers can be magnified when Mother Nature strikes. Learn how to prepare for extreme conditions and help help protect your vehicles and employees using our motor carrier and driver safety tips below. For further assistance, please contact our Safety/Loss Control Department at 800-782-8902 x3805 or safety@lancerinsurance.com.

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HURRICANE SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS & DRIVERS

Your level of preparation before a hurricane's arrival can determine how well your company weathers the storm and how quickly you recover from it. Commercial motor vehicle operations are strongly advised to review the following important precautions to help protect vehicles and employees from the dangers of a hurricane:

 

> More Hurricane Safety Tips

Prepare Your Organization

  • Monitor the National Weather Service, along with Emergency Alert System radio and television stations in your area. Pay attention to weather warnings and heed all state and local evacuation advisories.
  • Remind employees of key elements of your company's emergency preparedness plan, including local evacuation routes and post-storm communication procedures.

Prepare Your Vehicles

  • Cancel or re-route all scheduled trips within the path of the storm.
  • Fill vehicle fuel tanks as power outages and weather-related fuel delivery delays could result in fuel shortages post storm.
  • Move any vehicles that are not going to be in service to higher ground, if you are in the storm's path. Park vehicles away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall on your vehicles.
  • Please contact Lancer Insurance Company immediately if your company has been contracted to assist in storm evacuations: 800-782-8902, ext. 3805
  • Establish a communication system that requires scheduled contact times with your drivers so they can be updated on conditions. Adhere to your electronic device usage policy so drivers are not using cell phones while operating the vehicle.

Prepare Your Drivers

  • Ensure that drivers complete pre-trip vehicle inspections as prescribed by federal regulations, paying particular attention to tires, windshield wipers and headlights.
  • Advise drivers to check news reports, online and weather channels as part of their trip-planning routine, and every hour or two as conditions can change rapidly. Tornado warnings should be taken very seriously.
  • Recommend drivers allot extra time to reach their destination and have an alternate route plan in place before leaving so they're better prepared in the event conditions require using it; State Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation websites provide up-to the minute information on traffic, road closures and detours.
  • Remind drivers to turn on headlights to improve visibility and follow local and state laws for using headlights when windshield wipers are on.
  • Urge drivers to SLOW DOWN to increase traction and control.
  • Caution drivers to avoid sudden braking that could send their vehicle into a skid or cause hydroplaning.
  • Encourage drivers to add more space around their vehicle to allow sufficient time to slow down or stop on wet, slick road surfaces.
  • Recommend drivers stay in the center of the road as much as possible as water tends to flow outward, and to drive in others' tracks for better traction.
  • Warn drivers to not take chances by driving through standing water or around road blocks or barricades. If they come upon a flooded street, they should take an alternate route.
  • Urge drivers to watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway and to avoid downed power lines.
  • Advise drivers that whenever adverse weather impacts safe driving, they should pull over to the nearest safe and legal location, away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall on their vehicle, until the vehicle can be safely operated (see FMCSR 392.14).

After the storm, be very aware that flood vehicles will find their way into the mainstream used vehicle markets. All vehicles should be thoroughly inspected before being purchased.

Additional Resources
For additional information on preparing your operation for a hurricane, please consult the following:

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SNOWSTORM SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS & DRIVERS

When winter weather strikes, drivers face out-of-the-ordinary challenges. Commercial motor vehicle companies operating during extreme winter weather events should review the following important precautions to help avoid accidents associated with the adverse weather:

> More Snowstorm Safety Tips

Prepare Your Organization

  • Monitor the National Weather Service, radio, internet or television for weather information.
  • Strongly consider delaying or cancelling any trips that may not be able to be completed safely.
  • Ensure vehicles are equipped with tire chains as required by state laws, and drivers are familiar with chain installation procedures.
  • Make sure all drivers have an emergency survival kit (e.g., cold weather clothing, a blanket, a fully-charged cell phone and charger, a flashlight and extra batteries, a small shovel, an ice scraper/snowbrush, a first aid kit, non-perishable food and water, etc.) in their vehicle.
  • Establish a communication system that requires scheduled contact times with your drivers so they can be updated on conditions. Adhere to your electronic device usage policy so drivers are not using cell phones while operating the vehicle.

Prepare Your Drivers

  • Ensure that drivers complete pre-trip vehicle inspections as prescribed by federal regulations, paying particular attention to the tires, defroster, heater, windshield wipers and lights. Drivers should also be sure that their vehicle's windshield washer fluid reservoir is full prior to departing.
  • Advise drivers to check news reports, online and weather channels as part of their trip-planning routine, and every hour or two as conditions can change rapidly and dramatically.
  • Recommend drivers allot extra time to reach their destination and have an alternate route plan in place before leaving so they're better prepared in the event conditions require using it; State Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation websites provide up-to the minute information on traffic, road closures and detours.
  • Remind drivers to clean the entire windshield (inside and out), headlights and mirrors before leaving and frequently along the way. Suggest drivers use their low beam lights, windshield wipers and defroster to maximize visibility (drivers must also follow local and state laws for using headlights when windshield wipers are on).
  • Urge drivers to use extreme caution when conditions adversely affect visibility and traction, and to SLOW DOWN when such conditions exist (see FMCSR 392.14). Bridges, overpasses, underpasses, infrequently traveled roads and night driving require the utmost attention.
  • Encourage drivers to add more space around their vehicle according to the conditions of the pavement for the extra margin of safety they'll need if they begin to skid or have to stop.
  • Caution drivers to use gradual movements when accelerating, turning, or changing lanes, and to brake early and slowly to lessen their chance of losing control.
  • Remind drivers to drive in other drivers' tracks for better traction.
  • Instruct drivers to be alert and slow down when encountering any snow removal equipment.
  • Tell drivers to keep their eyes moving and take frequent breaks to help avoid snow hypnosis.
  • Warn drivers to stay alert for changes in a road's surface that may affect traction — tires that become quiet often indicates slick road surfaces; ice on the back of a side mirror may mean the road is icy too; other drivers having problems maintaining control may signal ice is forming.
  • Advise drivers that whenever adverse weather impacts safe driving, they should discontinue operating and pull into the nearest safe and legal location until the vehicle can be safely operated (see FMCSR 392.14).

Additional Resources
For additional information on preparing your operation during winter storms, please consult the following:

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SEVERE RAIN SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS & DRIVERS

Heavy rain creates dangerous driving conditions. Commercial motor vehicle companies operating during extreme rain events should review the following important precautions to help avoid storm-related accidents:

 

> More Severe Rain Safety Tips

Prepare Your Organization

  • Monitor the National Weather Service, radio, internet or television for weather information.
  • Move any vehicles that are not going to be in service to higher ground, if you are in an area prone to flooding. Park vehicles away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall on your vehicles.
  • Establish a communication system that requires scheduled contact times with your drivers so they can be updated on conditions. Adhere to your electronic device usage policy so drivers are not using cell phones while operating the vehicle.

Prepare Your Drivers

  • Ensure that drivers complete pre-trip vehicle inspections as prescribed by federal regulations, paying particular attention to tires, windshield wipers and headlights.
  • Advise drivers to check news reports, online and weather channels as part of their trip-planning routine, and every hour or two as conditions can change rapidly. Tornado warnings should be taken very seriously.
  • Recommend drivers allot extra time to reach their destination and have an alternate route plan in place before leaving so they're better prepared in the event conditions require using it; State Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation websites provide up-to the minute information on traffic, road closures and detours.
  • Remind drivers to turn on headlights to improve visibility and follow local and state laws for using headlights when windshield wipers are on.
  • Urge drivers to SLOW DOWN to increase traction and control.
  • Caution drivers to avoid sudden braking that could send their vehicle into a skid or cause hydroplaning.
  • Encourage drivers to add more space around their vehicle to allow sufficient time to slow down or stop on wet, slick road surfaces.
  • Recommend drivers stay in the center of the road as much as possible as water tends to flow outward, and to drive in others' tracks for better traction.
  • Warn drivers to not take chances by driving through standing water or around road blocks or barricades. If they come upon a flooded street, they should take an alternate route.
  • Urge drivers to watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway and to avoid downed power lines.
  • Advise drivers that whenever adverse weather impacts safe driving, they should pull over to the nearest safe and legal location, away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall on their vehicle, until the vehicle can be safely operated (see FMCSR 392.14).

After the storm, be very aware that flooded vehicles will find their way into the mainstream used vehicle markets. All vehicles should be thoroughly inspected before being purchased.

Additional Resources

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EXTREME WIND SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS & DRIVERS

Commercial vehicles, because of their height and size, are more susceptible to the force of winds than other vehicles. Transportation companies operating in extreme wind conditions should remind their drivers of these important precautions to help avoid weather-related accidents:

> More Extreme Wind Safety Tips

  • Complete a pre-trip vehicle inspection as prescribed by federal regulations. Drivers hauling cargo must also ensure that their loads are properly secured, and should be aware that, in higher winds, an empty trailer is more dangerous than a loaded one.
  • Check news reports, online and weather channels as part of your trip-planning routine and periodically along your route. Pay close attention to wind speeds and keep in mind that altitude and other weather events (e.g., thunderstorms) can affect wind conditions. When storm-force winds are likely, avoid the trip, if possible, and wait until the weather is more accommodating. If you don't have that option, plan a route with the least exposure to the bad weather.
  • Watch for roadside high-wind warning signs. Also be mindful of flags, windsocks, trees, tall grass, rising smoke and other vehicles that can help indicate the wind's strength and direction.
  • SLOW DOWN in windy conditions. The faster you drive, the more a wind gust can push you off course.
  • Be extra cautious on elevated roads and bridges, near open fields and at gaps between trees and buildings. These are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to crosswinds, which can often make it harder for large commercial vehicles to maintain control.
  • Keep both hands firmly on the wheel and maintain an extra cushion of space around your vehicle. Pay particular attention to motorcyclists and bicyclists who may be more easily pushed around by high winds and into your path of travel.
  • Look out for flying debris — anything that becomes airborne can block your sight lines and cause injury or damage. Heavy winds can also knock down power lines, so stay alert.

Importantly, if winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, pull off the road to a safe and legal area, away from trees, power lines or other objects that could fall onto your vehicle, until dangers have subsided (see FMCSR 392.14). Try to get behind a large object, such as a building, or turn head-on into the wind when you park; avoid parking broadside.

Additional Resources

For additional information on operating in high-wind situations, please consult the following:

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WILDFIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS & DRIVERS

Heavy smoke and ash from wildfires can pollute air quality and create dangerous driving conditions. Commercial motor vehicle companies operating in wildfire-affected areas should remind their drivers of these important precautions:

> More Wildfire Safety Tips

  • Check wildfire conditions prior to departing and avoid traveling into areas where wildfires are active. A map of active fires is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service website. Conditions should then be confirmed frequently as winds may cause wildfires to spread rapidly and jump across natural barriers, including roads and waterways.
  • Limit your exposure to smoke. Smoke from wildfires can travel thousands of miles and can cause breathing difficulty, especially for those with heart or lung conditions. Pay attention to air quality reports and use common sense to guide your activities, including driving.
  • Allow extra time to reach your destination. Motorists being diverted from road closures in wildfire areas can increase traffic congestion along other roadways.
  • Have an alternate route plan in place before leaving in the event fire and smoke conditions require using it. Radio reports and State Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation websites are invaluable in providing up-to the minute information on traffic, road closures and detours. Also, watch for electronic highway signs providing information on fire dangers.
  • Keep all windows, mirrors, and headlights clean to ensure the best visibility, as even light smoke can cause visibility to be impaired. Drive with headlights on low beam and use fog lights if the vehicle is so equipped.
  • Stay alert, slow down and maintain a cushion of space around your vehicle. Doing so will allow time for a safe response should a hazardous situation develop. With higher traffic volumes and the possibility of fleeing wildlife, conditions are ripe for more accidents.
  • Watch for traffic control personnel, firefighters and law enforcement officers. Slow down and be prepared to stop if they signal you to do so.

Motor carriers should also establish a communication system that requires scheduled contact times with drivers so they can be updated on wildfire conditions. Adhere to the company's electronic device usage policy so drivers are not using cell phones while operating the vehicle.

Additional Resources

For additional information on preparing your operation during active wildfires, please consult the following: