Ask any trucker who has been on the job for a year or more and you will typically find that they see breakdowns as just another part of the job, albeit one they don't like to deal with very much. Because breakdowns, flats, blowouts or any number of other problems can happen at any time and are sadly all too inevitable, any pro hauler would be wise to take a better approach to handling these situations.
The following tips could be vital to new drivers and a good refresher for seasoned pros:
1) Expect the unexpected
More often than not, these incidents come out of nowhere and can be a real source of stress, but that makes it all the more important to react in the right way, according to J&M Trailer and Truck Repair. Yes, it's going to be a headache, but this is part of the job and you can use the following steps to go through a mental checklist to ensure you react in a way that keeps your aggravation to a minimum and, more importantly, keeps you and other drivers safe.
2) React with great caution
When you encounter a problem that forces you to pull over, you need to do so as cautiously as you can, finding a good spot to park so you can assess the situation safely, J&M advised. That's not always possible, but you should always strive to make the best of even the worst situation and get away from traffic as much as possible.
3) Turn on all your flashers and put out flares
In all likelihood, you will have to pull over along the side of a road, rather than pulling into a parking lot or rest stop, J&M further cautioned. Especially in these common cases, make sure you're as visible as possible, with flashers going, all necessary lights on, flares laid out behind you and other reflective materials deployed as necessary.
4) Try to figure out what's wrong
The actual problem that led to your decision to pull over will dictate the next course of action, so you need to figure out the issue as soon as possible, according to Smart Trucking. If it's a flat or a blowout, you may be able to take care of it yourself, and the same is true of some mechanical problems. However, many breakdowns may require outside help, especially if the problem is electronic.
5) Get in touch with the dispatcher
No matter what decision you're making on the side of the road, you should communicate the problem to dispatch or shipping partners, Smart Trucking said. That way, everyone is on the same page, and help can be sent your way.
6) Keep dispatch updated
Along similar lines, any time there's a new development in your situation, you need to let stakeholders know, Smart Trucking warned. That way, no one is left in the dark about what you're dealing with.
7) Prioritize preventative maintenance
Finally, you have to understand that proper maintenance will help you avoid many of these situations, United Diesel Power added. While any problem is sometimes unavoidable, following all recommended scheduled maintenance is the ideal way to stay out in front of them.
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