As a kid in school, you may remember the fire drills. At the time, you may have just thought of these drills as boring and monotonous or as a good way to get out of a pop quiz, even if just for a few minutes. Of course, fire drills are designed to get you familiar with the procedures in the event of a fire emergency so you do not panic (as much) if a fire were to occur.

Now you are an adult and a truck driver. Do you have an emergency plan? Do you know what to do in an accident? Do you know what to do in the event of a breakdown? How about a medical emergency at home while you are away? It is much better to have a plan before an emergency happens. Prepare now, if you have not already done so. 

When an emergency happens, many will go into panic mode and not know where to begin. If you already have a plan, you will have something to fall back on. Everyone’s situation is different, but everyone can have a basic plan for the most common emergencies. 

In an accident (on the road or parked on private property), check the people first. If everyone involved is uninjured, call the police and file a report. After that, contact your carrier and take pictures. 

If you breakdown, know who to call for assistance so you are not scrambling to figure it out roadside. Turn on your flashers (4 ways), properly set out your triangles, assess the nature of the breakdown and make your calls to get help. Extreme hot and cold weather driving can also mean you need to have a supply of water and snacks in the truck to hold you over until help arrives. For the cold weather, don’t forget warm clothes and blankets. When the truck breaks down, there will be no heat to keep you warm. 

Medical or other emergencies at home, while you are on the road, can be the most troubling and cause you to think with your heart rather than your head. Having a plan before it happens will not lessen the emotions, but it can give you a better sense of what to do in order to get you home the quickest and safest way possible. You might need an emergency credit card for that expensive last-minute flight home and a safe, sensible place to leave your truck to catch a cab or Uber to the airport if airport parking is not an option. 

Create your own “Fire Drill” for the emergencies you may encounter on the road and prepare now. Just like the fire that never happened in your school, you still prepared because you never know when an emergency will happen.

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Greg Huggins

Greg has been in the trucking industry since the late 1980s. After spending 25+ years as an owner operator with United Van Lines, he leased to Landstar Express America in 2014. Greg is always trying to learn something new and share what he has learned with others.