When in the middle of your normal drive you get interrupted by severe shaking or vibrations, you could be driving through an earthquake. Just recently, some parts of the country experienced a magnitude 7 earthquake. An earthquake could strike anytime and anywhere without prior notice. That is why it’s important that you know what to do in case you are still on the road and this unfortunate event happened.
What Earthquake Feels Like When you are on Your Truck
Shaking and vibrations are just normal especially if you are towing a heavy trailer. Many truckers who’ve driven through an earthquake would tell you that it takes time for them to realize it’s earthquake and not just their truck. Those who experienced it recounted that if feels like something is wrong with your truck. You may feel a sudden jolt followed by shaking that will make it difficult to drive in a straight line. It may also feel like you are driving with flat tires.
If you still doubt it’s an earthquake, observe your surroundings, You may notice trees swaying even if there’s no strong wind. Depending on the magnitude, posts, streetlights and other road structures may also start to sway. Cracks could also begin to form on the road.
Earthquakes typically last for just a couple of minutes with the strong shaking less than a minute. However, what you should be careful of is the strong aftershocks after the earthquake.
What to do if an earthquake happens while you are on the road?
1. Find a safe place and pull over
Find a safe place and pull over to the side of the road and set the parking brake. A safe place is an open area, away from tall trees, posts, power lines and other structures that could fall. It should also be away from slopes as it could come down in a landslide. An open area next to the sea is not a safe place as well because of the possibility of tsunami. Avoid parking on bridges and overpasses as well as they may collapse if the earthquake is too strong.
If your surroundings are safe, stay in your vehicle until the shaking subsides. Turn your local radio or if you have access to the internet, check online for any information on the magnitude and epicenter of the earthquake. Anything that is over magnitude 5 is likely to cause damage, which could prevent you from proceeding to your destination.
2. Check your cargo after the earthquake is over
If it is safe to proceed check your cargo first before hitting the road again. Shaking may cause the cargo to shift or be displaced which in turn can cause an accident when you’re on the road. Make sure that the equipment or whatever it is that you are towing is still in place and properly secured.
3. Proceed with extra caution
Once the earthquake has stopped, proceed with extra caution. Avoid passing bridges, ramps, overpasses and roads that might have suffered damage.
Other Safety Tips
Tip 1. In the event of any emergency including earthquakes, avoid making voice calls to contact a person. A good alternative is to send a text message as it uses less bandwidth and it is faster to send even to several people. Since you can’t text while driving, it’s a good idea to do this once you already parked in a safe place.
Tip 2. If you managed to park in a safe location, stay inside the car with your seatbelt on until the earthquake is over. Only leave the vehicle when staying inside will more likely cause immediate threat.
Tip 3. While inside your vehicle, turn your radio on. The local networks will most likely broadcast regular updates on the current situation. Do not continue driving until you can confirm it is safe to do so.
Tip 4. Don’t drive over fallen power lines. If you see one, contact the local authorities.
Tip 5. Don’t forget that there’s still the threat of aftershocks that will cause the ground to shake or crack even further. If you are driving in a mountainous area, be aware of the possibility of landslides.
Earthquake Survival Kit for Truckers
As earthquake is unpredictable, preparedness is key to survival. One way to keep yourself prepared is to keep an earthquake survival kit in your vehicle.
Your earthquake survival kit should include:
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Bottles of water
- Handheld radio
- Map of the local area
- Prescription medicine if you have a condition
- Sleeping bag
While we don’t want to experience it, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared for an earthquake. It’s important to remember that your life is more important than your vehicle or trailer. So when worse comes to worst, don’t hesitate to leave them and go to a safer place.