As the winter storm season falls upon us, many truck drivers are oftentimes forced to park along highways and wait long hours at rest stops for snowy highways to clear. With the current HOS regulations being enforced by ELD’s, these unplanned wait times can eat up a driver’s hours by simply sitting in traffic. Not to mention the unforeseen dangers on the road significantly increase when the weather is windy and cold. Driver’s delayed by weather are required to pull over to comply with the ELD’s hours of operation, causing delivery times and appointments to be missed by hours or in some cases even days.
When the weather gets severe, it can also be brutal on your drivers and equipment. Tires may be damaged or blown out from driving miles with chains on, drivers get worn down struggling with their equipment in sub-zero temperatures. While the potential for delays and collisions are greatly increased in winter weather, drivers are forced to pull over when their driving hours of operation have reached the maximum for that day. This means a driver might sit in traffic for 11 hours while making it 2 miles in some extreme traffic conditions, causing major delays in their scheduled delivery appointments.
Some drivers are forced to park on the side of the highway when their hours of operation have expired for the day. In many instances this creates a parking lot in the emergency lane, causing a significant back-up of traffic and potentially hazards on the road. When weather is causing severe hazards on the highway, it’s usually a good idea to get off the road and let the storm pass. For many truck drivers pulling over is not an option while trying to drive through weather to make it to their delivery on time. Restricted by hours of operation drivers may find themselves feeling rushed to make their deliveries in inclement weather.
There are times when highways are closed for days stranding drivers and trucks. Combined with extreme weather conditions and ELD mandates, this can make it hard for a driver to properly be able to plan their trip. Major delays in traffic can also make for a lot of unhappy motorists trying to get to their destinations with no success. Some of these upset motorists will drive in some very suspicious areas to avoid or get around traffic, eventually causing even longer delays on the highway. Although some of the motorists may be comical to watch while you’re stuck in traffic, these unlawful maneuvers usually end up being the cause of more delays in traffic. Just because one person jumped off a bridge doesn’t mean you should as well!
It’s good to remember when you’re traveling under time restrictions in inclement weather to set a safe pace, be patient, and have a plan when the unexpected occurs. Stock up on emergency supplies and equipment so you can be ready for any unforeseen issues that may arise while on your trip. Buckle up and give yourself extra stopping distance, travel at a safe reasonable speed and don’t forget to blink so you do not daze off while driving through the heavy snow.