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How Professional Truck Drivers Survive Emergency Breakdowns

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Professional truck drivers are on the road for their job, clocking hours and miles that add up to unimaginable amounts for those who don’t drive for a living. That means, statistically, a professional truck driver will face multiple breakdowns over their career and need to know how to survive in an emergency.

If “survival” seems like an extreme word to use, consider the facts:

  • Truckers go through deserts and mountains so they are apt to encounter extreme weather conditions in isolated areas.
  • Since their pay depends on getting the load to the destination, any breakdown can threaten their finances.
  • Having to pull over in an unsavory neighborhood has dangers.
  • Pulling off on the side of the road can also be dangerous because an inattentive driver can kill someone who is walking beside the truck.

Prepare For The Worst

The whole idea of pre-trip inspections and regular maintenance is to keep breakdowns from happening, if possible. Route planning should include potential emergency stops so services could be reached quickly. Sometimes, that isn’t possible. In that case, the driver is responsible to set up warning devices so other drivers see and avoid the truck. The rules for warning devices when a truck is stopped near visual obstacles are different than they would be on a straight highway, so the driver has to think about the situation.

Supplies for surviving a breakdown should include food and water, a way to keep warm at night, and a way to communicate the situation to dispatcher and family, like a cell phone. It isn’t a bad idea to invest in some sort of solar power supply to keep the phone charged. These supplies can be in the truck at all times, along with tools for simple repairs and a fire extinguisher. It’s better to have something on hand than wish it were there in an emergency.

A good understanding of company and insurance policies helps in keeping records for making claims later on. Reimbursement often is dependent upon having the proper records. If no reimbursement is going to be available, drivers need to be prepared for breakdown expenses like a hotel or lost wages by having an emergency fund beforehand.

Plan For The Best

During a good truck driver training program, students are walked through the “what if” scenarios. They know how to do pre-checks, what to have in the truck at all times, and what their options are when an emergency breakdown occurs. Training at an independent driving school gives the flexibility to look at a number of jobs after graduation so contracts can be compared with regard to breakdown policies. Graduates know what the federal regulations are for safety equipment and procedures, and they know how to stay informed about any changes.