As of 8:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, July 3rd, Hurricane Arthur which has maximum winds of 80 mph, is located 150 miles south-southwest of Cape Fear, NC and is moving north-northeast.  A hurricane warning extends south, from the Virginia/North Carolina border to Surf City, NC, including the Outer Banks.

Trucking companies on the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine should expect dangerous conditions and prepare your vehicles.  We recommend that operations that could be affected by this latest storm review some basic steps that can be used to avoid losses associated with adverse weather.

Before getting behind the wheel, determine where the bad weather has been and where it’s headed.  The latest watches and warnings across the nation are available at www.weather.com, which has a link to a severe weather alert map.  State highway patrol and Department of Transportation websites can also be checked for information about road closures and detours.  Consider canceling or postponing trips that may be affected.  You should have a plan for vehicles that are in the affected areas and those that could enter the severe weather zones.  Be prepared to move your vehicles to higher ground.

Make sure you have a communication system in place that requires your drivers to contact you at scheduled times for weather condition updates. You might consider alternate route plans now so you’re better prepared in the event conditions require using them. Increased communication with drivers is a good idea; however, it’s also important to remember to adhere to your electronic device usage policy. Having a contact schedule in place ensures that drivers do not have to use cell phones while operating the vehicle.

Before heading out, drivers should complete their pre-trip inspection as required, taking the time to ensure that windshield wipers are functioning correctly.

While on the road, drivers should listen to the radio and check the weather frequently, at least every hour or two, as conditions can change rapidly. They should allow extra time to reach their destinations and have an alternate plan in place.  Drivers should reduce speed and maintain a safe following distance to help avoid sudden braking which could send the vehicle into a skid. Drivers should avoid driving into standing water. Also, high winds and trucks don’t mix, especially when trucks are light or empty. Drivers should be especially cautious in areas with high wind warning signs, while keeping in mind that high winds can occur anywhere within the outer or inner bands of a storm.  If conditions deteriorate, or when in doubt, drivers should get off the road and find a safe location to park.

We strongly advise that you listen closely to local weather reports and re-evaluate schedules accordingly. You can access the National Weather Service by going to www.weather.gov for the latest updates on the storm’s progress. Above all, if drivers must be on the road, they should Slow Down and Add More Space!

Cargo Theft Expected to Increase During July 4th Holiday

cargo theft

The long Fourth of July weekend is just around the corner, providing three days where shipments may be left unattended for extended periods of time.  Holiday weekends provide cargo thieves a perfect opportunity to strike if trucking companies don’t take the necessary security measures.

According to FreightWatch International, a logistics security services company, thefts occurring over Independence Day weekends between 2010 and 2013 had an average value of $257,016.  Nine separate incidents involving cargo valued over $250,000 were recorded during this period.

Though the statistics are alarming, there are precautions you can take to help prevent what could be a devastating loss:

  • Avoid having loaded trailers sit unattended over the weekend.  Either unload them or schedule the delivery the following week.
  • If a loaded trailer cannot be avoided, park only in secure areas that are well lit and utilize surveillance equipment.  Be sure to park within view of the camera.
  • Always remove the keys from the ignition and keep windows rolled up.
  • Lock your tractor doors, and padlock trailer doors and use kingpin locks.
  • Add layers of protection by using high-security theft deterrents (i.e., engine kill switches, brake or transmission locks, other vehicle immobilizers, etc.).
  • Carry information on your person concerning the identification of the tractor and trailer(s) or chassis and containers you are pulling (license numbers, container numbers, descriptions).  This information is critical if the vehicle is stolen.
  • Check on the unattended vehicle as frequently as possible.
  • Report any theft to local law enforcement (dial 911) immediately and then contact your insurance company. All Owner Operator Direct policyholders should call 800-432-6608. Our claims professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you. The sooner you report your loss to us, the quicker we can begin working to get you back on the road.