Statue Of Liberty

We know truck drivers are going to be stranded in some parts of the country due to Hurricane Sandy coming ashore. We have received all sorts of alerts and announcements from fuel stop chains across the eastern seaboard detailing changes in hours and store closures. Some states have already issued truck traffic restrictions, find out about that here.

So we thought it would be a good idea to give you truckers an idea about how to save power on what could be your most valuable asset, outside of your bodily health during a storm – your cell phone. Keep in mind, the checklist we’re presenting today is one for the last few hours before dangerous weather overcomes you – not the day before, or outside the red zone type things.

Also – it never hurts to have a duplicate battery back up for your phone handy. They can cost a bit, but during dangerous conditions, an extra 8 hours of contact could mean the difference between life and death. So if you spot one at a fuel stop or Wal-Mart on your route, give it serious consideration.

Here’s the list:

  • Before dangerous weather hits – charge all of your battery-containing devices you have to full capacity; cell, laptop, battery backup/alarm, basically any powered device that has a USB connection or a mini HDMI connection. When you recharge your laptop for storm endurance, make sure you start it in SAFE MODE (which doesn’t load any extra processes or software that isn’t needed), before putting it on standby.
  • When the power begins to flicker or brown out – keep your cell phone plugged in if you can, but now it’s time to turn off all of the services that drain unnecessary power. Turn off WiFi (huge drain on cell batteries), Bluetooth, GPS and any type of momentary updates, like PUSH notifications on an iPhone, or status updates on Facebook or Twitter.

Note – turning off GPS service to your phone will NOT prevent it from sending coordinate locations to first responders if you dial 911 or any other type of emergency response. That will kick in automatically once the numbers are dialed.

  • Power at home or truck stop is out – If you weren’t able to power the devices to capacity before this, you might choose to get them the rest of the way using your truck’s 12 volt power or inverter, even though they do it slower than regular wall outlets. Keep an ear on your weather radio while doing it.
  • Once the power is out and your battery is on its own – Go into your phone settings and dim your screen brightness to the lowest point it can go where you can still read it. If your phone’s standard setting has haptic feedback (quick vibrating when buttons are pushed), turn that off.

If you aren’t expecting important calls, turn off your ringer or set it to the lowest volume possible that allows you to hear it. When keeping in touch with dispatch or loved ones, alert them ahead of time to send check ups by TEXT, not calls. One single short phone call can burn as much battery energy as nearly 15 text messages. Texts also tax the mobile networks much less, and will have much more chance of getting through.

If you make calls during network stress times, there’s a high chance that it will be dropped. Texts will simply wait in line to go through, based on traffic. Even during high stress times, this can mean only a couple of minutes delay.

  • If your cell phone gives you an option to turn off 4G or 3G mobile networks, do it. Those are merely for data plans that require high speed access. Your phone will perform the same without them for emergency texts or calls.
  • If mobile apps you’re using, say for weather updates, ask you to use your location don’t allow it. Simply type in your location afterward. The information will be the same, but your cell phone or tablet computer will not begin to send data at regular intervals and draining your battery this way.

Do any truck drivers out there have other common sense tips about rechargeable power devices during hazardous storms? Let us know!

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