Summer season safety tips for truck drivers
With summer just around the corner, the season of big hauls and busy roads is once again upon us. But, although sunny days are perfect for long journeys, they aren't risk-free. Like winter weather driving, summer tours carry their own set of difficulties. As such, even this time of year won't allow you to relax completely. Fortunately, with these summer season safety tips for truck drivers, you'll have a much easier time overcoming these challenges.
Get plenty of rest before you hit the road
When it comes to road safety, nothing beats a good night's sleep. Over time, many studies showed that sleep deprivation leads to cognitive impairment. So much so that it's comparable to drunk driving. And, we all know how risky that is. Therefore, aim to get enough rest the night before, so your judgment, coordination, and reaction time can be at their peak.
It’s OK to take a break
Although sleep is essential for responsible driving, a long journey still takes its toll on your body and mind. Continuing to drive in this state is a recipe for disaster. If you start feeling drowsy at any point during driving, unable to focus, or even dozing off – STOP IMMEDIATELY! Take your time to stretch, refresh, and rehydrate. Take a power nap, even – that's an excellent choice, too! It's better to lose an hour or two resting than risk losing your life.
Staying hydrated is your #1 priority
Some drivers avoid drinking lots of liquids while on the road out of fear that they'll have to make frequent restroom breaks. This way of thinking is just plain wrong. And, not only that, but it also carries a lot of risks. Dehydration has many adverse effects, such as:
Needles to say, even one of these effects can have dire consequences. Therefore, it's imperative to remain well-hydrated throughout the trip. And, yes – even if it means stopping every hour. This is one of the crucial summer season safety tips for truck drivers and one you should never ignore.
Refreshments are a must
And, we're not talking water only. Having a wide variety of snacks will have a significant impact on your energy levels and mood. Even something as simple as a candy bar can lift your spirits and give you a much-needed boost. Salty snacks are an excellent choice, too. Peanuts, walnuts, etc., will give your jaw and your brain a bit of exercise. Also – cocktails! And, no, not the alcohol kind. But a mix of freshly squeezed fruit can be godsent under the scorching summer sun. Of course, as an alternative, you can always just have fruit in its original, "unrefined" form. So, fill up a portable cooler and remember to restock it often.
Have a change of clothing handy
The AC in your truck might do a wondrous job, keeping the cabin chill and pleasant. Still, after a few hours spent in it, you might feel a bit... sticky. Granted, this isn't that much of an issue. Nevertheless, it still causes discomfort, and that's something you want to avoid. So, it's always a great idea to pack a change of clothing and have it handy at all times. To this end, standard moving boxes are your best bet. They are larger than they seem, and you can fit a good amount of clothing in them. Therefore, take a few minutes to find the right supplies, and place them somewhere within reach. And, remember: you don't have to look presentable while driving. But, you do need to feel comfortable.
Protect yourself from the sun
Spending time in the sun is fantastic. It boosts the mood and energy levels and makes you feel more lively. However, prolonged exposure can have severe consequences for your health. So, make sure you apply sunscreen generously before the trip and re-apply it every couple of hours.
Also, don’t forget the eye protection. Sunglasses can be your best friend on a long trip. For the best effect, choose the model with an anti-reflective coating. These can eliminate virtually all reflections, thus making driving safer. And you’ll look cool!
Take frequent breaks
Even the most comfortable truck in the world can't beat a good ol' walk and a bit of stretching. As soon as you notice even the slightest discomfort, start sitting restlessly, or can't seem to find "the right position" – stop. Get out, stretch, do some jumping jacks, or whatever you like to get the blood flow going again. This will not only make you feel more relaxed but will improve your cognitive abilities and give you an energy boost.
A good plan can eliminate a lot of frustration and risks from your trip. Therefore, it’s essential not to go in blindly. Instead, take some time to do the research. The two important things here are:
- Road conditions and;
- Weather conditions.
Summer is the time of vacation. But, it’s also the time for road works. If possible, try to avoid congestions or, at least, hit them when they’re not at the peak. We all know how these make drivers nervous. As such, they will be more prone to road rage and irresponsible driving.
Furthermore, there will be more inexperienced drivers on the roads. After all, everyone wants to get to that amazing vacation ASAP. Therefore, roads will be busier and more dangerous. So, drive responsibly and, more importantly – safely.
Although summer is supposed to be sunny and dry, there’s always a risk of a sudden storm. Therefore, it’s important to prepare appropriately to avoid being caught off-guard. So, follow the weather forecast for every area you’ll drive through, and you’ll always know what to expect.
Make sure your truck is in top condition before you set foot in it
Summer heat can harm the working of your truck. Therefore, it's imperative to do a full checkup before hitting the road. The most common issues heat causes are:
- Brake fade – Overheated brakes can diminish or completely lose functionality;
- Tire blowouts – Under Inflated tires increase the blowout risk. So, check them before and during the trip;
- Engine overheating – Make sure coolant levels are at their optimal level to avoid busting the engine.
Stay responsible, stay safe
Summer safety tips for truck drivers mentioned here are an excellent jump-start to a low-risk journey. Still, the biggest takeaway is: be responsible. Take care of yourself first and your truck’s equipment second, and you’ll have a pleasant trip.