With temperatures rising and the days getting longer, it can only mean one thing. Summer is right around the corner. The change of seasons brings its own set of challenges for truckers. As with winter driving, the summer weather bestows inclement weather, construction, increased traffic and of course the heat. Here are some tips to preserve your sanity this summer season.
Increased Traffic/Extra Drivers – During the warmer months, families are taking vacations, people are going to the lake and people generally enjoy driving more when it’s warm. There are also more boats and recreational vehicles on the road, which can slow things down and congest traffic. This increase in traffic volume can change the normal traffic patterns, which lead to congestion, accidents and unpredictability. Be sure to stay extra alert and aware of your surroundings during this peak traffic season. Drive defensively and be prepared to stop. Also ensure to factor in the extra time you may need to reach your destination.
Sun Protection – Many truckers are more than likely familiar with “Truckers Arm” that comes from the constant sun exposure to the left arm. While the constant rays of sun can feel great while driving, there are serious risks associated with subjection to sun. Being aware of the exposure and using protection can reduce harmful risks down the road. Protection can include sunscreen, long sleeves or window covers.
Hydration – It can be easy to forget to drink fluids while on the road, but it goes without saying that keeping hydrated is very important. Ensure that you always have a bottle of water handy, and it’s never a bad idea to keep a few extras on you in case of an emergency. Beverages with higher sugar and caffeine content will dehydrate you, as well as lead to more restroom breaks in the long run.
Equipment – Heat is tough on equipment, specifically brakes, tires and cooling systems. More emphasis should be placed on the pre-trip inspection, paying extra attention on your tires to prevent the chance of a blowout. Check out our post on summer inspection tips for more information on your pre-drive. If you ever find yourself questioning any of your mechanical components, always pull over and check things out.
Weather – While potentially not as extreme as winter driving, summer weather can bring with it some severe storms that can make driving quite treacherous as well. Be aware of the weather ahead of time so you’re not caught off guard during potential storms. If necessary, during more extreme situations, change your route to avoid dangers or delays. If your safety ever comes into question, pull over and wait it out.