The coronavirus pandemic has acted as a stark reminder of the importance of workplace safety. As the trucking industry never really takes a break, additional precautions have been put into place to protect truckers today. As the world is slowly opening up and many industries are starting up again, truckers are once more working in full force.
With summer in full swing, icy roads and snowstorms are in the rear view mirror, but that doesn’t mean driving conditions are now perfect. However, with so many new virus-related precautions in place, other issues, such as face covering, that often creep up in summer might slip your mind. Here are our summer driving tips for truckers to keep you safe on the road.
Stay on top of the weather
Even though you don’t have to worry about skidding on icy roads, the weather can still be tricky in summer too. Afternoon pop-up storms bring their own set of challenges. Luckily, phone apps can keep truck drivers alerted about weather conditions in real time. Drivers should definitely check the weather when planning a trip. This way, you’ll be able to avoid potential storms, tornadoes or flooding, all of which can impact your drive and the timing of your delivery. Even when things seem picture-perfect, you should still have a plan in case conditions change rapidly.
Ensure everything works properly
A thorough pre-trip inspection is definitely among the summer driving tips for truckers. High temperatures do not only mean focusing on your AC working well, though that is very important. They also mean the risk of mechanical failure is higher. You should inspect your truck both before and after a completed drive. Some of the key components to look out for are tires, brakes and vehicle engine fluid levels. The condition of these is key to having a safe summer drive. Of course, you also want to stay on top of your AC, as that is usually your main defense against experiencing heatstroke. Having a good relationship with shop and mechanics is crucial because they can collaborate with you to diagnose any specific mechanical sounds from under the hood.
While on the topic of heatstroke caused by summer driving, it is hard to overstate the importance of water. This is particularly true if you are driving through very humid areas. Heat paired with humidity will make you perspire and lose a lot of water as well as electrolytes. It is so easy to lose focus when you are dehydrated. To combat this, make sure your truck is stacked with water. This way, you’ll keep yourself hydrated and focused on the road.
Stay in the Shade
Summer driving can quickly become hellish thanks to the sun. The heat coming off the concrete can render your AC useless and certain times of day make it difficult to see what’s in front of you. Besides hydrating regularly, there are other ways to remain safe from the sun’s detrimental effects.
Applying sunscreen regularly may seem like a nuisance, but it is actually one of the key summer driving tips. The holes in the ozone layer have left us with very little natural protection against the sun’s harmful radiation. Even with your windows rolled up and your AC on, you are still at risk of getting sunburnt. Sunburns are not just a temporary annoyance. They can have lasting negative effects on your health. The only way to combat them, though, is to cover up, whether it be clothes or sunscreen.
Luckily for us, there are all kinds of sunblock brands that are easy to apply and re-apply throughout the day. Don’t go for an SPF lower than 30; you’ll do well to go even higher. A light spray on your arms and face, and you’re all set! Sunscreen is even more important if you work for a moving company like Best Cross Country Movers. Not only do you have to stay in the sun while driving, but you can also be directly exposed to it when you are helping carry things in and out of the truck.
Any type of truck driver is susceptible to intense sun exposure, but in the tanker trucking world, time slows down. Highway Transport chemical tanker drivers follow strict chemical transportation protocols. So, it can take a take a tanker driver a much longer span of time to deliver a load. Tanker drivers drive at regulated speeds, and oftentimes, a driver will be in the cab exposed to the sun for a much longer period of time.
In addition to the sunscreen, you want to invest in a good pair of sunglasses. While any old pair will do in a rush, it is better to spend a little bit of money on high-quality ones that will reduce the sun’s glare and stop visibility from becoming the issue. Polarized sunglasses with UV protection are not pricey but they won’t irritate your eyes and will help keep your focus on the road ahead.
Take a break
Taking frequent breaks is a staple summer driving tip, no matter what kind of driving you are doing. It is particularly pertinent for truckers, though. You may want to get it over and done with as soon as possible, but driving for prolonged periods of time in the summer heat can cause a lot of fatigue. Taking even a 5-minute break where you get to stretch your legs and take a sip of water or grab a snack will feel very refreshing. In general, ensuring that you are well-rested, had a good night’s sleep and are eating healthy will go a long way in ensuring your summer drive passes without a hitch. Highway Transport drivers enjoy the benefit of health coaching via Rolling Strong. From body aches to stress, Rolling Strong health coaches are a free benefit for Highway Transport tanker truck drivers. Rolling Strong provides wellness for truckers on everything from stretches and breaks to nutrition/hydration.
Stay Patient and Slow Down
Summer driving means high temperatures, but it also means higher frequency of vehicles on the roads. People are moving and traveling around, leading to traffic jams and longer drives and sometimes a condition known as Road Rage. You should definitely account for these when planning your trip and let your leader know you have hit some snags on the road. In order to stay patient, it is important to make your drive as comfortable as possible to avoid workplace stress and fatigue. So stock up on drinks, stay protected from the sun and rest as much as you can. You’ll reach your destination.
Check out this video clip of Tom discussing a safe following distance…
Driving safe, especially in the trucking industry, involves daily dedication and awareness that leads to a safer journey on the road.