Summer’s Here: This Is How To Stay Cool On The Road
Most everyone eagerly awaits the summer months, seeing it as a time for basking in the sun, taking family vacations, and completing those overdue outdoor projects. However, as the weather heats up, it’s also important to have safety in mind as those temperatures rise. For truckers, in particular, who may find themselves caught in their cab or on the wide open road, knowing how to handle the heat is extra important.
How to Stay Cool and Beat the Heat
Summer heat waves can be a safety concern for various jobs and it’s especially true for truck drivers. Undoubtedly, you are all too familiar with making deliveries in all types of weather. However, when it’s hot outside and you’re driving for hours on end and parking to rest, it’s important to be aware of safety concerns for the health and safety for yourself and your truck when continuously exposed to the sun throughout the day.
Those hot temperatures are known for draining energy levels, and drinking plenty of water during the summer months can help prevent feeling sluggish. Also, eating foods with high water content such as watermelon or a healthy salad offers nutritionally dense refreshment.
Wear a Cooling Neck Wrap
Whether you’re on the road or waiting outside during a load, you can keep your body temperature cooler by wearing a cooling neck wrap. Simply store the wrap in your cooler and tie it around your neck when you need to cool down. You can also make your own by wrapping a few small gel form ice packs in a bandana. This, in addition to drinking plenty of water can also give your truck air conditioning a small break.
Wear Sun Screen
Wearing sun screen year round is highly recommended, as the sun emits harmful UV rays no matter the season. While the windows in your truck may reduce UV exposure, you’re still prone to sunburn, especially on your left side, as studies have proven. While most windshields have some amount of UV protection, side windows often don’t, so be sun smart!
Enjoy Indoor Breaks
Truck drivers are always on the go, focused on meeting deadlines and covering as many miles as possible during the workday. But permitting yourself time to take breaks can offer reprieve from the heat and give you a chance to reenergize. Look for opportunities to take a break indoors, enjoying air conditioning, stretching your legs, grabbing a bite, or simply relaxing. Just a few minutes away from your truck can make a huge difference.
Stay Cool at Night
Drivers commonly use the air conditioning while driving, but by using an APU, or Auxiliary Power Unit, you can take advantage of the truck’s built-in AC unit while the truck is idling. While nighttime temperatures are sometimes cooler outside, sleeping in an enclosed truck cab can still make for uncomfortably hot temperatures. Not only is it healthier to sleep in cooler temperatures, it makes for better quality sleeping environment.
Safety Checks to Address Before Hitting the Road
There’s no denying that the summer heat can take a toll on the truck, just as it can on the driver. In fact, an overheated truck can lead to delays, safety risks, and costly repairs.
Check Your Truck Antifreeze Levels
While it’s important to check all fluid levels, maintaining antifreeze levels will help ensure the cooling system will function properly.
Clean Away Debris
When covering as many miles as truck drivers, it’s easy for the truck’s engine components to take in dust and debris. Make it a habit of routinely washing the radiator, fan clutch, and air conditioning condenser so everything will run efficiently.
Check Tire Tread
As the sun heats up the pavement, those rubber tires also heat up and begin to break down, which can lead to tire blowouts and delays. Be sure to regularly monitor your tire tread and pressure, along with inspecting the wheels to ensure there’s no signs of damage.
Listen to Weather and Traffic Reports
During the summer months’ roads are busier than ever with families vacationing and kids out of school. This time of year also creates the perfect scenario for severe thunderstorms. Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead for storms and traffic delays. Be sure that your brakes, tires, and windshield wipers are checked regularly to avoid accidents, and stay in the know with real-time reports via phone apps or radio stations.
Just as important as staying safe in the rigid cold months of winter, driving during the summer months can pose its own on-the-road challenges. These tips will help protect the health of you and your truck and avoid unwanted surprises or delays.