The Dangers of Hauling HAZMAT Materials

When you’re hauling potentially deadly materials, even one mistake can be fatal. That’s why the requirements for HAZMAT certification are so high. And, the data shows that these higher requirements help keep us all a little safer. While hazardous materials make up 11 percent of all US freight, they represent just a fraction of all transport accidents.

Though placards tell you when cargo’s dangerous, you might not know the dangers that drivers face. In this article, we’ll discuss the risks of HAZMAT hauling and how companies keep their employees safe.

Placard Examples for HAZMAT Hauling Dangers

The 6 HAZMAT Hauling Dangers

While most hazardous materials only hurt the environment, companies like Savannah Transport also carry items that are hazardous to human health. Because of this, driving a HAZMAT truck exposes drivers to:


Flammable substances often ignite in collisions. The resulting firestorm poses a danger to both the surrounding area and the driver. And, as you might guess, the smoke doesn’t help. Commonly transported cargo in this category includes alcohol and gasoline. Red placards make flammable materials easy to spot.


While blowing stuff up looks cool in movies, it’s terrifying in real life. When trucks carrying explosives overturn, the trailer often ends up a deadly projectile. Unlike fire, explosions can happen without warning. Fireworks and TNT are two materials that pose this HAZMAT hauling danger. Because of possible collateral damage, explosive substances (1.1-1.9) are heavily regulated. Not sure if a substance is explosive? Look for orange placards.

Chemical Burns:

Not all burns come from flames. They can also be caused by corrosive chemicals. This HAZMAT hauling danger often arises when a tanker is punctured during a crash. This spreads these potentially dangerous substances over a wide area. When the unwitting come into contact, they suffer. Chemical manufacturers use white and black to denote corrosive substances. Sulfuric and nitric acid fall into this category.


If the HAZMAT material is radioactive, just being near it puts you at risk. As these substances affect the environment over the long-term, the government regulates them heavily. Items that pose this HAZMAT hauling danger include uranium oxide and Iridium-192. Luckily, radioactive materials account for just one percent of all HAZMAT cargo.


Poisonous substances contaminate groundwater and soil. They can also lead to death when consumed. Items in this category include ammonia and chlorine. Curious if something’s poison? Look for a white placard.

How Transport Companies Protect People from the Dangers of HAZMAT Hauling

In many cases, transporting dangerous materials exposes truckers to more than one HAZMAT hauling danger. Fortunately, our drivers are equipped with tools to help lessen the risk. These preventive measures include:

  • Clear labeling and placarding
  • Requiring drivers to stay near their HAZMAT trucks at all times.
  • Stringent requirements for loading and unloading of hazardous goods
  • Blocking and bracing of trucks to prevent damage in transit
  • Strict rules about what materials can be stored in a shipment

Choose Savannah Transport Next Time You Need to Move HAZMAT Material

Savannah Transport has been transporting hazardous materials since 2000. We go above and beyond to make sure that our drivers—and everyone around them—are safe from HAZMAT hauling dangers. To get a quote on a shipment, reach out to us at (801)563-0100.