Summer time, and the driving is easy! Right? Well, no. Warm weather brings challenges ...
and you cannot be complacent. Make sure your truck is summer-ready to hit the road.
Although winter driving can be more difficult, Brad Zall, Health and Safety Advisor at SafetyDriven, notes that “it doesn’t mean there are fewer hazards in summer.” He lists more traffic, drivers distracted by a car full of excited vacationers, road construction, maintenance crews, animals on the road, and how easy it is to become less vigilant.
Zall, with 15 years’ experience as a driver, including long haul, heavy haul, and hauling fuel, describes instances such as “trucks coming down a hill or around a bend unaware of stopped traffic and unable to stop in time.” Such a hair-raising experience highlights the importance of keeping your truck in good condition and staying alert.
You keep safety in mind, take good care of your vehicle, and do all your regular inspections. As the weather heats up, it’s a good idea to give your truck an extra look. Think about what you haven’t been thinking about all winter—the effects of heat.
These tips will help you meet the heat:
Air conditioner. Test it, and inspect for leaks in the hoses and strange noises from the blower motor. Have it serviced or repaired. You may save yourself an uncomfortable ride!
Tires. Heat increases air pressure (about 1 psi for every 12oC/10oF) and makes rubber wear more quickly, especially if your tires are not inflated properly. Inspect your tires for wear, check tire pressure regularly and make sure it is appropriate for your load, and drive at the posted speed limits—more speed equals more friction and heat. Remember that a blowout can damage fenders, fuel tanks, bumpers, and other places depending on the tire’s location.
Be prepared for a blow-out. Reduce your speed and pull over when it’s safe. Set up emergency triangles while waiting for a repair service. Don’t drive on a blown tire; the debris is hazardous to other vehicles and can cause other tires to blow from carrying extra weight.
Brakes. Brake failure is a common cause of accidents involving tractor trailers. Brake pads, bushings, linings, hoses—everything is subject to wear and affected by changing temperatures. Have a professional inspect your brakes before driving in the heat and be extra vigilant during your regular brake checks.
Windshield Washer. Summer is bug season! Smashed bugs smear windshields, reducing visibility. Carry extra windshield washer and include it in your fluid level checks at rest areas, brake checks, and/or during pre- and post-trip inspections.
Driver. Be sure you are ready for summer driving, which can cause physical issues like heat exhaustion from doing heavy work such as tarping or strapping down a load. Drink water, wear light clothing of breathable fabric, and take breaks. Symptoms of heat exhaustion/dehydration include clammy skin, heavy sweating, fatigue, nausea, dizziness/fainting, and confusion or decreased alertness. Avoid some stress by checking your BC route for delays at DriveBC.ca. Be aware of your health and remember to drive safely!
You can depend on SafetyDriven.ca for all your safety needs!
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Is your body ready for summer?
Are you ready for it? Long days, lush scenery, heat s ...
himmer in the distance, sun glinting off cars and RVs, construction crews, detours, lost drivers making last-second lane changes, accidents and emergency vehicles. It’s summer, in all its glory, bringing its particular challenges for professional drivers.
Brad Zall, Health and Safety Advisor at SafetyDriven and a former heavy- and long-haul driver, says “one of the most important things you can do for yourself in the summer is to take care of your body.” Be healthy to be your best on the road.
Keep your cool with these tips:
Maintain healthy habits.
Being in general good health will keep your energy up and support your mood.
• Nutrition. Good nutrition is always important, but being on the road makes healthy eating difficult. Pack healthy foods if you’re cooking for yourself. If you aren’t, make wise choices in restaurants—choose white meat over red, whole grain over white, roasted over fried. Good nutrition will keep your body operating smoothly!
• Hydration. Staying hydrated can be difficult. Be sure to drink plenty of water—don’t wait till you’re really thirsty to drink up. With fresh fruits and vegetables in season, you can eat some of your water. Food high in water includes tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, citrus fruit, cucumber, lettuce, and celery.
• Exercise. Sitting for long stretches is hard on the body. Ideally, we should get 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. A little imagination will get you there! Do push-ups off the side of the truck, find a safe space at a rest stop and hold a plank position as long as you can, raise knees alternately to your hands held at waist level for 60 seconds. Walk a mile by doing 32 laps around your tractor trailer.
• Rest. During sleep, your brain does its housekeeping, getting rid of clutter and setting you up for the next day, boosting your immune system and improving reaction time. Stick to a routine, eat light dinners, and avoid screens before bed, especially if your long haul has you crossing time zones. Meditation, or quiet time, can help you sleep.
Respect the sun.
This isn’t a yoga pose! As Zall notes, some of your tasks are physically demanding, especially in the heat; he points out tarping and strapping down a load. While a little sun is good for us, too much can cause problems.
• Sunburn. A sunburn can be distracting. Prevent burns and “trucker’s arm” by using sunscreen, wearing long-sleeved shirts, and wearing sunglasses with UV protection (eyes burn, too). Staying hydrated can make sunburns less intense. Include sunburn remedies in your first aid kit.
• Heat exhaustion. Working in the hot sun can cause your body to overheat, leading to heat exhaustion. Prevent overheating; stay hydrated, work in the shade when possible, wear loose, light clothing and a hat, protect against sunburn, and take breaks with your A/C on.
Zall reminds drivers to stay safe by being prepared. “Pack lots of water for your work day” and be sure to eat well, exercise, and rest.
You can depend on SafetyDriven.ca for all your safety needs.