Happily, most predictions about the devastation from Hurricane Irene turned out to be overblown, excuse the pun. Except for the folks in New England. The roads for carriers in Vermont face a very difficult winter, as the construction season there ends around Halloween. Already, route and trip planning are at a premium there, as trucks scramble to get supplies to the "islands" of towns in Vermont.
According to Transport Topics:
The storm dealt a serious blow to Vermont, causing damage to 260 roads and scores of bridges, news reports said. Late last week, the state had 63 roads closed, and there were concerns about 30 bridges, said Sue Minter, deputy secretary of transportation for the state.
The governor says the state is using quick-build bridges from the military to span rivers. It'll be important for drivers to know about them, and to understand any weight limits or different road surfaces. Communication among drivers and carriers will be critical.
In addition, many routes are being sent over small, winding mountain roads to avoid the valleys that took the brunt of the damage. And in the already dicey winter driving conditions faced by those with Vermont routes, that could make for some adventurous driving.
If you haven't already, please consider a little training for your fleet up there. Pro-TREAD offers several number of 30-minute lessons that other drivers say are genuinely helpful. We'd love to demo any and all of these lessons for you for free before you assign them to your drivers.
- Winter Driving with Chains
- Winter Driving without Chains
- Emergency Maneuvers
- Hazard Awareness
- Hazard Communications
- Avoiding Roadside Collisions
- Rollover Prevention (including Mountain Roads)
- Skid Control
Combined with the stalemate over the federal funding for transport, there's no guarantee that spring will bring much relief. It may be a tough winter of driving ahead, but you can put safety first and help those towns by getting supplies delivered with just a little training.
Night Driving Tips: The days get shorter and weather gets nastier during the winter. Make sure your drivers have ways to cope with the reduced light, increased fatigue and other issues that come with night driving.