Wet and very windy conditions could plague portions of the southeastern U.S. as Hurricane Matthew moves its way onto U.S. soil. The probability of heavy rains, flash floods, and high winds could have a serious impact on coastal regions of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
While we recommend avoiding those areas altogether, if you do find yourself traveling in those regions take a few moments to review some basic steps to avoid losses and improve safety in inclement weather.
- Drivers should check weather conditions prior to traveling to determine severity of conditions. The weather should be checked every hour or two as forecasts can rapidly change.
- Those driving should be well-rested and alert before getting behind the wheel. Driving, especially in poor conditions, requires full concentration and signs of fatigue can result in losses or injury.
- Drivers need to be reminded to complete pre-trip vehicle inspections as required by federal regulation. Maintaining proper tire pressure, tread depth, and functionality of windshield wipers and headlights are especially important in adverse weather.
- Drivers should allot extra travel time and map an alternate route plan in case of road closures or detours. The Department of Transportation and State Highway Patrol websites provide real-time updates on road conditions, traffic, or road closures.
- Ensure a communication system is in place that requires scheduled contact times with your drivers to be updated on their conditions. Remember to follow electronic device usage policies so drivers do not use their cell phones while operating their motor vehicle.
- Remind drivers that commercial vehicles, because of their height and size, are much more likely to be affected by high winds than other vehicles. In the event of strong winds, encourage drivers to slow down or pull over to a safe area, away from trees, power lines, or other tall objects that could fall onto their vehicle until dangers have subsided. Also, drivers should be constantly scanning the road for debris or objects that have been blown onto the road.
- Make sure that drivers keep their headlights on to improve visibility and avoid any sudden braking that could send their vehicle into a skid. If the vehicle does start skidding, avoid further braking as it could offset the weight of the vehicle and worsen tire traction. Instead, apply light acceleration and keep the steering wheel as straight as possible to help regain control of the vehicle.
Most importantly, maintain more space around the vehicle, slow down, and stay safe out there.