Dealing With Snow and Preventing Liquid Surge: How We Ensure Safe Driving Conditions For Milk Haulers
Our average milk tank can hold 68,000 pounds of liquid. Driving a vehicle with that much cargo weight can be challenging, especially in winter driving conditions. That’s why drivers must be well trained and experienced to know how to handle their vehicle safely in all circumstances, and why we take extra precautions to help them stay safe during their routes.
The Right Truck for Every Load: Why Full Tanks Matter
The normal challenges of driving a tanker truck increase when the tank is less than full, since sloshing liquid can create what is called a liquid surge. This is especially the case when the truck accelerates or stops, since the sudden change in movement causes the liquid to move in the tank, sometimes so strongly that it can cause the vehicle to overturn.
To prevent issues, drivers must be very familiar with the handling of their vehicles, which is why drivers receive training on surge-control driving tactics. We also do our best to schedule farm pickups and routes so that we fill trucks as much as possible, especially before they head back to a processing plant, to limit the space available for sloshing. Fleet management has a big role to play in ensuring safety. It is helpful to select smaller tank trucks (e.g., a 4,000-gallon tank rather than an 8,500-gallon one) for lower-volume routes in order to ensure full tanks.
We can’t control the weather, but we do our best to equip our drivers with the knowledge and tools they need to drive safely in all conditions. On snowy days, this means reminding drivers to leave early and allow extra time to reach their stops, to prevent delays. They also know that they can contact us or the farmer if they arrive at a farm driveway or road that has not been plowed, so that someone can be sent to clear it, rather than trying to clear it themselves or risk getting stuck.
While there are many ways to ensure driver safety on milk-collection routes, one of the most important things we can do is to equip drivers with the right size of tanker truck. Through careful route planning and fleet management, we can limit the likelihood of problems and maintain safe, efficient and reliable service for our drivers and customers.