For people who don’t work in the trucking industry, it may seem like being a truck driver during summer is easy. You get to sit in an air-conditioned truck after all! However, as a driver you know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Driving during the summer months is just as taxing as any other time of the year, if not even more strenuous.
As a professional driver, it doesn’t matter if you are traveling locally or have a longer haul across a few states, it is always a good idea to be prepared for the summer months over the road. Here are some summer safety measures you can take to keep cool while you are over the road this summer:
Take Extra Care of your Truck and Trailer
Hot temperatures take a toll on trucks and trailers, which is why it is important to know your truck, so you can sense when anything seems off as you are driving, idling or even just parked. The heat is extremely hard on brakes and tires. These parts of the truck tend to wear away faster during the summer, so it is a good idea to give them a few extra checks during the summer to ensure they are functioning properly and to prevent any blow-outs. Don’t forget about your trailer too! Trailer breaks, tires and your reefer unit. You never know how reefers will act with summer temps. Regular checks on the reefer and trailer for malfunctions are always a must to ensure your load is okay.
Watch the Weather
Mother Nature has a mind of her own and summer is no exception. Watching the weather report before you kick-out, during breaks or stops will be very helpful as you travel so you know what to expect weather-wise. As the temperatures spike, it can bring on very unexpected thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash flooding and having a heads-up on the weather will prevent you being caught-off guard and allow you to plan accordingly. The weather is tricky and not something to mess with, so don’t stress if you need to pull-off the road and stop at a rest stop or in extreme situations change your route if necessary.
Yes! You can still get sunburnt while driving, the sun still beams in through the windows of your rig directly onto you. With the sun shining in through the windows, it can result in funky tan lines and sunburn, which is why having sunscreen with you is essential! It is also handy to have if you know you will be outside a lot unloading and loading your trailer. If you can’t grab sunscreen, be sure to pack a long sleeve shirt, a hat and sunglasses for some extra sun protection.
For these next few hot months, try to stick with drinking just water while you are over-the-road. Water is a much healthier option than soda, energy drinks, coffee and other beverages that aren’t very hydrating. With summer, comes sweating – it’s inevitable, which is even more reason to drink as much water as possible! Remember, a good rule of thumb is to consume eight standard water bottles a day. If you find yourself getting bored of regular water or struggling to drink enough of it, consider buying some flavored water enhancers like Mio or lemon slices to spruce it up some.
During summer it is also tempting to keep your AC running inside of your truck, so be sure you are aware of any optimized idling systems to help decrease idle times. Optimized idling can also have a strong benefit for your fuel efficiency too.
Check out some of our instructional videos for how to set the optimized idle system in your truck.
There are plenty of other tips and tricks for how to handle the hot summer heat, but these few are key to keeping cool while you are out on the road. In addition to these, be mindful of road work and other things that may cause increased traffic. Typically, there is an increase in road work during the summer both day and night. Similarly, traffic in general tends to increase with many people going on vacation and having summer breaks, so it may be common to have certain areas that are more congested than others depending on where you must drive.
Stay cool drivers!