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The Dangers of Tanker Hazmat Hauling Jobs

Tanker Endorsement

If you want a good-paying HAZMAT trucking job, it might be time to pursue a tanker endorsement. This certification expands your load options and nets you a higher rate per mile than a standard truck driver. But that bigger paycheck is earned. Hauling liquids requires an upgraded skillset and a willingness to deal with all the common tanker dangers. We’ll explore those below.

Liquid Surge Can Be Deadly

In partially filled tanks, your cargo has room to slosh around. This negatively impacts your truck’s steering and handling. Coming to a stop in a half-filled truck will send a wave of liquid rolling. This is referred to as a liquid surge. The sudden shift in weight can push you in an unintended direction—especially on slick or icy roads. An unaware driver only has seconds to adjust and avoid sliding into a busy intersection or backward down a steep hill. Ensuring your tank perfectly balances empty space (aka outage) and liquid is the best way to avoid the problem. Too little makes surge more likely while too much leads to heat expansion and tank ruptures.

Roll Over Is More Likely in Chemical Tankers

The amorphous qualities of liquid mean that a tanker’s weight shifts drastically from side to side. This often ends up making the truck swerve. Inexperienced drivers, distracted by alerts and alarms, tend to overcompensate for this change. As a result, the truck becomes unbalanced and rolls onto its side. Contrary to popular belief, most rollovers are not caused by roadway conditions or excessive speed. The former accounts for around 4% of incidents while speed and evasive maneuvers are cited as causes around 38% of the time. Other types of driver error, improperly sized loads, and vehicle defects are what sits at the root cause of most tanker rollovers.

The Placards Exist for a Reason

Those colorful squares aren’t just for show. In many cases, the biggest tanker danger isn’t roll over or fatigue but what you’re carrying. Explosive fuels and potentially hazardous chemicals make up a lot of what’s hauled by HAZMAT drivers. Handling a hazardous load incorrectly can lead to a firestorm or cloud of toxic fumes. While rare, these incidents do happen.

You Tend to Get Fewer Miles

Because of the extra care and lower speeds involved, tanker drivers take longer to reach their destination. Though not the same kind of hazard as those above, it’s something to consider before investing in certification. Savannah Transport offers per mileage rates that make up for this discrepancy.

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The DOT Views You Suspiciously

Because of the increased risks of rollover and stringent loading guidelines, tanker drivers are often subjected to extra scrutiny. So, you must be cognizant of where your paperwork is at all times. Forgetting to dot an i or cross your t can lead to fines for your parent company.

The Protective Gear Can Be a Hassle

Any HAZMAT hauling job means dealing with PPE. Tanker drivers must wear more than most. In many cases, especially in the South, this equates to a sticky and sweaty existence. Since you’ll have to assist more with loading and unloading, your ability to handle the added weight is something to be seriously considered.

Savannah Transport Knows How to Put Tanker Dangers to Bed

Our company has more than 20 years’ experience getting fuel and other hazardous liquids from origin to destination. Because of our stringent safety guidelines, our drivers rarely encounter the tanker dangers listed above. We ensure that every tank is properly loaded and all crucial safety steps monitored. If you’d like to apply for one of our HAZMAT trucking jobs, click here.