According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, adverse weather is the second largest cause of non-recurrent congestion. In metropolitan areas, truck drivers lose approximately $3.4 billion, equivalent to about 32 million hours, stuck in weather-related traffic jams. Weather events cause visibility impairments, high winds, precipitation, and extreme temperatures that impact vehicle performance, pavement friction, crash risk, traffic flow, and driver capabilities. Weather conditions also influence the work of freight brokers. As logistic transportation coordinators bridging the gap between shippers and carriers, freight brokers must closely monitor the weather. In this guide, we discuss everything freight brokers need to know about severe weather.
Why it is Important to Prepare for Severe Weather Conditions in the Trucking Industry
The pacing and outcomes of trucking operations are influenced by supply and demand, technology, geopolitics, road conditions, severe weather, and more. When it comes to extreme weather, it is a force that cannot be directly controlled. No one can stop a thunderstorm in its tracks or immediately change the temperature in the air. Some severe weather events can be predicted, and others arise seemingly out of nowhere. The trucking industry is left with no other options besides preparing for and responding to weather conditions, and the most effective responses are born out of thorough preparation. The trucking industry must prepare for severe weather conditions because they are guaranteed to happen. Proper practices minimize risk, increase safety, and increase the likelihood that operations will continue running smoothly.
Types of Severe Weather & How To Prepare
Take extra precautions to prepare for the following severe weather conditions:
Snow – When snow falls faster than plows can clear, road conditions become hazardous. If you broker for a region with blizzard conditions, ensure your trucks have chains, the drivers fuel up regularly, and the trailer temperature controls function properly. If you broker for a region that is not commonly hit with snow storms, keep an eye out. These areas most likely do not have resources or processes in place to handle the conditions, which can pose a high safety risk for everyone on the road. If an unprecedented snowstorm falls, like the one that just blanketed Los Angeles, adjust the logistic arrangements to keep your drivers safe.
Floods – High water conditions can shut down roads at a moment’s notice. Keep up to date with route closures so that you can give your drivers advanced notice and proactively plan a reroute. Additionally, stay in close contact with the drivers, who can keep you in the loop with observations from the road. Together, and with the help of your dispatchers, you can create the optimal plan in flooding conditions.
Hurricanes – Hurricanes can bring a great deal of destruction to a geographical area. Thankfully, the warning time for storms is usually sufficient. Ensure you keep up to date with the weather conditions and spaghetti models to plan reroutes in advance.
Tornadoes – Unfortunately, tornadoes are known to appear out of nowhere unexpectedly. You can help your drivers stay updated with weather forecasts and keep your shippers updated with transit statuses. However, when it comes to tornadoes, trust your driver’s observations and make sure they are equipped to detect the warning signs and clues that a tornado may appear.
Fires – Although fires are not precisely weather conditions, they impact trucking operations similarly. Fires wreak havoc on all parties in the supply chain. As a freight broker, you must stay up to date with the latest developments and have contingency plans in place to protect the brokerage, your drivers, and your shippers.
How can freight brokers assist customers during this time?
The best ways freight brokers can assist customers during this time is to:
1. Stay up to date with weather events.
2. Prepare drivers for severe weather conditions.
3. Communicate thoroughly and promptly with everyone involved.
Become a Freight Broker with First Star Logistics!
If you want to use your problem-solving skills to help drivers stay safe and keep customers satisfied, consider becoming a freight broker with First Star Logistics.
First Star Logistics is a unique asset-based global brokerage company with over 60 years of experience. We are looking to expand our brokerage department by hiring enthusiastic individuals wanting a fast-paced career in the logistics industry. We empower you to succeed by allowing you to create your goals and networks and make your own money. Our freight broker training program will enable you to start as a trainee or an experienced broker. Our talented freight brokers enjoy the highest commissions in the industry, weekly pay, proprietary software, a potential sign-on bonus with book of business, 24/7 agent support so you can be as productive as possible, and more customer saturation.
To join the First Star team, apply today.