It’s the year of the Polar Vortex. As you read this, yet another massive winter storm is rolling up the East Coast, bringing unprecedented cold and snow even to states that almost never see such weather. And while those of us in the Northeast may be used to harsh winters, trucking companies and heavy equipment operations can’t afford to simply “take it in stride.”
For truck drivers, storms can literally be a matter of life and death. And for municipalities, state transportation agencies and private businesses, repeated efforts to move and remove accumulating snow can be a round-the-clock struggle.
Last month, a trucker in Indiana was pinned under his rig for 8 hours in the snow and sub-zero temperatures after it shifted while he was attempting to thaw his fuel line. His lived, only because his wife’s numerous calls caused his cell phone to vibrate out of his pocket to a place where he could use it to call for help.
The frightening lessons?
- Make sure you have a buddy – another driver, dispatcher or family member – who always knows where you’re supposed to be. Check in with each other on a regular basis.
- Get a voice-activated phone (what if your hands don’t work?), and keep it charged and within reach.
- Carry extra warm clothing, water and some snacks, even if you’re only driving a long haul.
- Get help to work on your rig in dangerous conditions. That’s good advice in any weather.
If you’re driving between wintry and warmer areas, remember that affects your fuel, DEF and lubricants. What you buy in the Sun Belt may not serve you adequately up north. Of course, this year even the Sun Belt is experiencing the wrath of the Polar Vortex.
Clearing the way.
Snow removal is challenging, no matter where you are. People expect instant response to keep city streets, highways and parking areas clear so they can get around. No matter that you have to work 24 hours a day to get that done. And then there’s the real stumper: where to put all that snow, and how to transport it?
In extreme winters like this one, where storms packed with ice and snow just keep coming, you need the right equipment and the right plan. If you were caught unprepared, you’ve learned the hard way how costly that can be.
- Skid steers from New Holland and Terex
- Wheel loaders from Kawasaki, Terex, Hyundai and New Holland
- Backhoes from Terex and New Holland
- Snow pushers and snow blades from ProTech
- Snow melters from Snow Dragon
- Spreaders from AirFlo & Hi-Way
- Snowplows from AirFlo, American Snowplows and Everest
With the right equipment and a hefty respect for Mother Nature, we’ll get through this winter, safely and as smoothly as possible. And we can take heart that – at least according to the calendar – Spring will be here in just a few weeks.