Australia is a land of sweeping plains, and it’s this size and variation in landscape that means you can experience all four seasons at any given time of the year – with extreme weather conditions a regular occurrence on the road. The safest way to avoid dangers on the road when it’s bad weather is to stay off them completely – a difficult prospect for truck drivers, who are typically required to keep on trucking rain, hail, shine or extreme heat (one of the rarely recognised dangers that truck drivers face on a daily basis).
If you’re going to brave the elements, you should kit yourself with the knowledge and preparation to see through your journey safely. With the recent floods in Townsville and wild heat experienced across Australia, now is the perfect time to prepare for the unexpected.
While some tips are well known – like slowing down, giving drivers around you extra space and using your hazard lights in low visibility weather – others are lesser known but, once learned, can be life-saving when the weather conditions are bad on the road.
When the weather changes…
Stop, revive, survive: Stopping for a break can sometimes seem difficult when driving to a deadline. However, pulling over and taking five during extreme weather can be imperative to your safety – and the safety of others – on the road. Truck stops are a safe haven when it’s wild weather, ensuring you with a place to rest, recharge and take shelter if needed until the weather clears and you can get back on the road.
Check your weather apps: Good weather can change to bad in a matter of minutes. That’s why it’s important to give yourself regular weather updates when you’re on the road – especially if you’re driving long distances across regions vulnerable to dramatic shifts in weather. There are a myriad of dependable weather apps at your disposal, like The Weather Channel, AUS Rain Radar, Weatherzone and BOM Weather – which provides highly accurate and trusted updates from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Call the Hino Care Centre: Need some advice on your truck if you’re stuck in bad weather? Keep the Hino Care Centre number handy at 1300 01 44 66 – they have real people ready and waiting to assist you over the phone for when you’re in a bind.
Stay in touch with other drivers while on the road too, talk to other truckies when you stop and see what they are saying about the conditions. Having as much knowledge as possible is essential.
Staying safe in dangerous situations
Staying safe by planning ahead could save your life. Be sure to pack some bad weather gear before hitting the road – jumper leads, extra bottles of water, a first aid kit and several emergency essentials like a waterproof torch, wiper fluid, phone charger, High vis raincoat and extra clothes. Do a quick checklist, check your truck before the journey to ensure your wiper blades, lights and spare tyre(s) are in good order.
Heat can play a factor with your truck and yourself. Stay cool with plenty of water, comfortable clothing, air conditioning and keeping an eye on the temperature of your truck. And ensure you stop every two hours, your body wont function properly when its dehydrated, which can even be fatal.
If you know where you’re going may not have phone reception, tell someone your location and when you aim to arrive at your destination. And it’s also recommended you take a defensive driver course, which can give you the necessary skills should an emergency arise on the road.
Check before setting off
Before you hit the road on your next job, check online for any instances of wild weather that may be clashing with your intended route. All Australian states and territory have official websites that provide live traffic updates including breakdowns, road works and areas where roads are affected by bad weather. Keep these websites handy and check them regularly before, and during, your drive, who knows it could even get you to your destination quicker!
Ensuring your Hino is ready to brave the elements
Hino trucks are built with the guiding principles of Durability, Reliability and Quality but you must also ensure you have the right accessories to get you from A to B and back again.
There is a range of accessories that will keep your truck tough and in good working order. We would recommend fitting a bullbar, sun visor, Hino Telematics, weathershields, fog lamps and ideally a UHF-CB to your truck, if you frequently visit extreme weather locations.