The Dangers of Tanker Hazmat Hauling Jobs
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.