Knowing how to properly handle a truck breakdown on the road is absolutely a crucial component to the job of a long haul truck driver.
All professional drivers must be equipped with safety information in the event of a big rig breakdown. Mishaps and malfunctions are inevitable, but they don’t have to completely derail a job.
Breakdowns are usually unpredictable and annoying, especially if you are ill-equipped in the matter. Ensure drivers have a resource to help find the locations of repair facilities and safe stopping spots on the route. A dispatcher or driver manager should give instructions to the driver as to how to handle the breakdown, such as tow truck information and what facility the truck should be sent to.
If a truck breaks down there’s no need for panic. It’s important that drivers keep calm, as breakdowns may occur in unsavory places, be it in bad weather or in bad neighborhoods. Making smart decisions can save their lives, as remaining calm allows for better decision making. A panicked individual can make bad decisions and can place themselves and others in harm’s way.
Put Safety First
Being broken down on the shoulder can be very dangerous with exposure to speeding traffic in very close proximity. It only takes one inattentive driver to plow into you. As we all know, there are many inattentive drivers. Breaking down on the shoulder will require one to remain extremely alert. Drivers must be aware of the danger of the traffic nearby and stay in the vehicle as much as possible. If you are driving and feel the truck starting to fail, even though not the best place to pull off the road, pulling over on an off-ramp is safer than the shoulder of the highway.
Take the Right Steps When Malfunctions Occur
Opt for the widest pullover spot possible. Turn on flashers and watch mirrors to monitor the traffic behind you. Be prepared if the traffic behind does not understand what the situation is! It isn’t uncommon to be rear-ended when your truck fails.
Ease off the road if possible, rather than hard turn to the side. Once the truck is parked as far off the road as possible, set up flares or triangles behind the truck. Tilting open the hood is another good way to indicate that you’re broken down.
Try to determine what the problem is and whether or not you can repair it yourself or whether roadside assistance is needed before calling for roadside assistance.
Keep your dispatcher informed of what’s going on throughout the repair process, to help keep the customer informed.
Keep Supplies on Hand
It is smart to carry a variety of supplies. A simple tool or two can mean the difference between getting up and back on the road or sitting dangerously roadside. Have these on hand:
- Full wrench set
- Electrical tape
- Adjustable hose clamps
- Air to air strength hose clamps
- Duct tape
- Plastic zip locks
- Extra oil
- Extra coolant
- Fuel conditioner
- Fully charged fire extinguisher
- Windshield washer fluid
- Screwdriver set
- Assorted fuses
- Few circuit breakers
Though it is not a physical tool, long haul trucking insurance is also a valuable asset in reducing the financial impact and business interruption of a vehicular breakdown. Contact us today to learn about our options for your operation.
About Tobico Trucking Insurance
Trucking insurance is one of the most difficult types of insurance to obtain, but it doesn’t have to be. At Tobico Trucking Insurance, we are experienced and knowledgable about the trucking insurance market and the needs of trucking operations of all types and sizes. You need an agent who has the specialized knowledge of this ever-changing industry, and we have the products and the dedicated customer service to provide you with what you need. For more information, contact us any time of day at (469) 731-0707 to find out how we can help you.