Low Bridge- What To Do
|By: Denny | Nov 17 2010 | 612 words | 871 hits|
You got directions from dispatch and they put you on a county road that runs into a low bridge. There is traffic behind you on a two-lane road with oncoming traffic, as well. There is no shoulder or emergency lane, so what do you do?
If you as a professional driver wait until you are in this situation, then you really don't have too many people to blame other than yourself. There are a lot of checkpoints along the way to prevent this from happening. Is it a certainty that something like this will never happen? Nope! I have ended up in a very similar situation and I'm sure most drivers have.
Directions and pre-planning are the keys to staying out of this situation. Your dispatcher could be sitting in an office thousands of miles from where he or she is giving you directions, so the information could be old or the information could be wrong. The dispatcher really is just forwarding or passing along information that someone else is conveying to her or him. You should be routed over roads of the proper size to safely navigate your freight.
The Trucker's Road Atlas is the first step to preplanning and to getting a basic route. The next step is to check any smaller routes along the way for low clearances or weight restricted bridges. These routes sometimes change, and sometimes they change with little or no warnings given to anyone other than the locals. You should have your basic route written down and in a place so you can easily refer to it.
Call the shipper and or receiver the day before you deliver. Check on problems in the area and ask for directions to their location again. Write these directions down and check them against yours. Ask the shipping or receiving departments, not the security guard or receptionist, for the directions. Chances are the receiving and shipping departments know how to get trucks into where they are and the receptionist or security guard may only know how to get there in their car.
Watch for signs along the route. There is absolutely no reason to drive past warning signs or restricted route signs. Almost every low clearance or weight restricted bridge has warning signs well before the item. If you do not pay attention to these signs, you are the one who could get the tickets or who will have to get out of the predicament. Your dispatcher cannot help at this point.
Watch your surroundings. Always be on the lookout for places you can fit a truck into and for spots that could be used to safely turn your truck around if you have to back-track. If you end up stopped at a low clearance, you should call the police or local sheriff. They could instantly cite you for being somewhere you should not be, but you could also get some help getting out of there. It beats topping out a trailer, getting stuck or tearing up property, all of which may earn you an instant ticket to the unemployment line. If you are alone, you may have to back a long way to get out, and there is never any completely safe way of doing this. Make sure you have your four-ways on and use your reflective triangles to block cars. Slowly back up to the next triangle, stop, and keep moving the triangles to the rear as you move backwards. This will take forever and is still dangerous but, if you keep the triangles to the rear well spaced out, you should be able to back to a point where you can make a left or right turn and get out of the area.
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