Summer is yet to come! Already temperatures have hit some record highs, and if our weathermen are to be trusted, we should expect another two months of scorchers! If you’re new to the trucking game, you might be thinking: “That’s all well and good, but how does that affect truckers? Don’t they spend all day in their air-conditioned rigs?”
For long-haul drivers, that is mostly the case, but they still need to take precautions against summer temperatures. This is also important for the shorter haul and delivery drivers, as they spend far more time outside of their vehicles, often loading and unloading freight in the heat.
The dog days of summer are no joke, and whether you have a long-haul or short-haul, it’s always a good idea for truckers to plan ahead and get ready for the heat. Here are just a few ways to stay safe during the hottest months of the year:
On a busy day, it can be easy to forget something simple like drinking enough water. Say you’ve got a dozen stops and you know there’s barely enough time in the workday to make them all. You might forget to drink those couple bottles of water along the way. During the winter, no harm no foul. But on a hot summer day with the sweat dripping, proper hydration is a must.
Do you need to spend extra money on some sugar-laden sports drink with electrolytes? Absolutely not. Run of the mill water—even from the tap—will do the trick just fine. But skip the hydration on a hot, sweaty day and you will feel the difference. Low energy, mental cloudiness, and nausea are some common effects of dehydration.
For short-haul drivers who are getting in and out of their trucks throughout the day, sunscreen is a necessity. Protect your skin with sunscreen just like you protect your back by lifting with your legs. The sun’s rays can be unforgiving, so be sure to protect your entire body.
When it comes to long-haul drivers, some express surprise when we say that they, too, should use sunscreen. However, have you ever heard of the term, trucker’s arm? Letting your arms (especially the left one) burn while driving, day in and day out, is no better than loading and unloading out in the sun without sunscreen. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate against body parts. Your arm is just as good a place for skin cancer as any other body part.
Know How Extreme Heat Affects Your Rig
As responsible truck drivers, it’s always important to inspect your tires and brakes on a regular basis, no matter the weather forecast. However, this becomes even more important during extreme heat, which can lead to faster erosion of brakes and tires. Stay vigilant about your rig’s maintenance.
Watch Out for Wicked Weather
We’ve focused on heat so far, but with that, summer also brings severe thunderstorms and tornados throughout much of the country. Roads can become slick or flooded. Visibility can drop down to zero. Winds can gust at incredible speeds. Watch the weather report, know what’s coming and be willing to pull over and wait the storm out when conditions get too dangerous.