Truck drivers are the critical component that drives the modern supply chain. Yes, that is a little truck driver humor, but all the same, it is the truth.
These are the people who get behind the wheel to drive hundreds of miles per day. They are tasked with the responsibility of making sure that freight gets to where it needs to be going. And this means that they often don't have the luxuries that many of us take for granted. Things like working inside an office, all nice and cool during summertime conditions.
Ah, that time of the year when temperatures are rising and the asphalt is heating up. During this hot season, these individuals must find ways to ensure that they are keeping cool. Yes, heat stroke is a real threat to truckers. This goes double for those driving through the southern United States!
So, in this blog post, we will be looking at 5 of the best summer safety tips that keep truck drivers cool during those long, hot, summer days.
Water is Your Best Friend
When you read most online safety tip articles that are focused on the summer season, hydration is usually at the top of the list.
While most of today's trucks are equipped with air conditioning or fans to keep drivers cool, they still have to battle the humidity. Often this goes overlooked because as humans we tend to worry more about the dry heat than we do about humid conditions.
However, humidity can literally soak the water right out of you.
Although drivers on the West Coast deal with excessive heat, in other parts of the country, high humidity can take a toll on even the most experienced driver. High heat and humidity increase perspiration. Through your perspiration, your body not only loses water, but it also loses important electrolytes that allow you to stay focused while on the road.
Therefore, having a fresh water supply, at least 1 gallon's worth, is a must-have for anyone who drives a commercial truck during the summer season. Additionally, stacking up on drinks that are high in electrolytes is a no-brainer!
Sunblock is Crucial for Both Arms and the Face
Most truck drivers understand that the sun is not necessarily their friend. The hot concrete or asphalt under the truck can easily heat the cabin to the point of the AC being relatively useless. And that's not to mention the potential of visibility issues. Early in the morning and then again in the evening hours right before the sun sets un the worst time to be on the road battling the clear, bright impact of the sun on the eyes.
Aside from that, the 12 hours in-between when the sun is shining all day can actually have a significant impact on the driver's health.
Even if the windows are rolled up, and your air conditioning is on full blast, sunlight shining through windows can lead to sunburn. I know, it seems unlikely for those of us who only ever drive casually for no more than an hour here or there. But ask any long-distance truck driver about sunburns and they probably will have a story or two to share with you.
To reduce this potential, a high SPF sunblock kept in the cabin of the truck goes a long way!
Invest in Good Eye Protection
The glare of the sun is one of the biggest banes to most truck drivers. Of course, this one happens frequently whether it is summer or not. It just happens to be more of a threat in the summer season.
Having the right type of sunglasses can significantly reduce glare, though!
While direct sunlight is hard to block out, reflections from standing water, other vehicles, or from the road itself can cause your eyes to become irritated much quicker. Naturally, this actually increases the potential of becoming sleepy as well.
To reduce this, using polarized sunglasses with high UV protection is recommended for any carrier that drives during daylight hours.
Pay Attention to Pre-Trip Inspections
When the temperatures rise, the likelihood of mechanical component failure also elevates. Therefore, the Department of Transportation and other carrier related agencies recommend and require a pre and post trip inspection to be completed by all CDL drivers.
However, it is the driver’s responsibility of knowing what to look for specifically during the summer season. In extreme heat, your truck’s components may suffer mechanical issues. Noting the condition of your tires, brakes, and vehicle engine fluid levels are 3 vital components to the pre and post inspection.
Take Frequent Breaks
Driving during the hot summer season also comes with the desire to be done sooner.
However, if you don't take time as a driver to take frequent breaks, your attention to detail will suffer. When that happens, the likelihood of an accident due to fatigue greatly increases. For LTL carriers, this is much easier especially when they have multiple stops to complete.
The trick for FTL carriers is to find time during extended routes to take a quick break. Sometimes, simply pulling over and walking around for 5 minutes is all you need to maintain optimal alertness.
Taking time while you're on the road to practice summer safety methods, significantly reduces the potential of on road accidents and health concerns.
It is also just as important to communicate with company leaders or fleet managers anytime you suspect damage to a vehicle that can be exposed or accelerated during extremely hot conditions.
These 5 simple steps do not require a lot of investment or work to perform. As a matter of fact, we would like to believe they are pretty much just common sense. Nonetheless, they can ensure that you arrive home safely from a long day on the road.
Need some help putting some summer safety protocols into place? Reach out to us here at Redwood Logistics and let our experts help you!