As a professional driver, you’re familiar with the hazards of winter driving but you also know summer brings its own set of issues.
July and August see more drivers on the roads and are considered the deadliest months of the year for driving.
For professional drivers, summer is not always business as usual. It requires being more conscious of safe driving practices. To help get you ready for safe summer driving, pause for a few reminders.
Stay on top of maintenance
Extreme summer heat can take a toll on vehicles; make sure your truck is ready for the season. Check your tires for wear and make sure they are inflated properly; remember that heat increases air pressure and makes rubber wear more quickly. Have your brakes looked at—they are affected by changing temperatures—and pay extra attention during regular brake checks. Be sure coolant levels ae correct and test your air conditioning for leaks in the hoses or the blower sounding rough.
Spring and summer are also road construction season, bringing with it longer traffic jams, delays, and detours. Remember to play it safe in cone zones by creating space for workers and staying focused and calm. Determine the best route for avoiding construction areas to help keep your schedule. If you can’t avoid these delays, remember to stay patient. You’ll still get there.
Summer roads are filled with drivers who are more distracted than usual. Remember that they’re thinking about a ton of things other than the road and watch out for them to save yourself a load of hassle. Look for vehicles slowing unnecessarily, wandering in their lane, or darting in front of you to get to an exit ramp they nearly missed. Stay away from them as much as possible.
Spring and summer bring some crazy weather patterns that could include thunderstorms, downpours, flash flooding or even tornados. Make it a habit to check the weather forecast prior to making a trip to help you stay ahead of adverse weather. Sometimes storms happen with little to no warning, so be sure to check for updated forecasts. If weather is so severe that your visibility and control of your vehicle is compromised, find a safe place to park and wait it out.
Summer weather means motorcyclists will be getting their motor runnin’ to head out on the highway. While they’re lookin’ for adventure, they need you to look out for them, because they’re small and hard to see. They may seem to drive erratically as they dodge a hazard you can’t even see from the cab of your truck, like a patch of oil or gravel, debris, or potholes. It can be challenging to estimate the speed of motorcycles through quick mirror checks, so once you spot a motorcycle, increase the frequency of mirror checks so you know where they are. And keep in mind they can easily disappear into your blind spot.
Heat is not just hard on your truck; it’s hard on your body, too. Hydration, good nutrition, exercise, and rest are all important. Ensure you have plenty of cold water with you in the vehicle and drink it regularly, not just when you’re feeling parched. Fruits and vegetables like cucumber, citrus fruits, and strawberries make handy hydrating snacks. It’s also important to focus on healthy eating during your run—pack your own healthy food and make wise choices in restaurants.
Get some exercise each day—you don’t need to run like you’re training for a marathon, but get moving to counteract the effects of sitting a lot. Be sure to get plenty of sleep to boost your immune system and keep your reactions sharp. Take enough breaks to help you stay alert and focused.
Be careful of the sun. Glare means your eyes can suffer, so ensure you’ve invested in high quality sunglasses. Use sunscreen to protect against sunburn and skin damage and wear a hat.
Take the time to enjoy the summer driving months but remember that beautiful summer days can be distracting; stay focused to be a safe driver.