A wet and windy few days could be in store for portions of the southeastern U.S. as powerful Hurricane Matthew moves slowly northward. The potential for heavy rains, flash flooding, rip currents and high surf conditions could have a serious impact on coastal areas from Florida to the coastal Carolinas.

Commercial truck drivers should pay extra caution to Hurricane Matthew's high winds, especially on bridges and overpasses. 

Commercial truck drivers should pay extra caution to Hurricane Matthew's high winds, especially on bridges and overpasses. 

We recommend that those companies traveling in this area take a few moments to review some basic steps that can be used to avoid commercial truck insurance losses associated with adverse weather:

  • Make sure your drivers are aware that they need to be well-rested and alert before getting behind the wheel.
  • Drivers should complete pre-trip vehicle inspections as required by federal regulations to ensure, in particular, that tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread depth, and windshield wipers and headlights are functioning properly.
  • Drivers should check weather conditions prior to departing to determine where the bad weather has struck and where it’s headed. Conditions should then be checked every hour or two as they can change rapidly.
  • Drivers should allot extra time to reach their destination and have an alternate route plan in place before leaving so they’re better prepared in the event conditions require using it. State Highway Patrol or Department of Transportation websites provide up-to the minute information on traffic, road closures and detours.
  • Make sure that you have a communication system in place that requires scheduled contact times with your drivers so they can be updated on conditions. Remember to adhere to your electronic device usage policy so drivers are not using cell phones while operating the vehicle.
  • Drivers should be reminded that commercial vehicles, because of their height and size, are far more likely to be affected by high winds than other vehicles. During strong winds, drivers should slow down or pull over to a safe area, away from trees, power lines or other tall objects that could fall onto their vehicle, until dangers have subsided. Additionally, drivers should watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway.

Importantly, during adverse weather conditions, drivers should keep headlights on to improve visibility; avoid sudden braking that could send their vehicle into a skid; add more space around their vehicle to allow sufficient time to slow down or stop on wet, slick road surfaces; and SLOW DOWN to increase traction and control.