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!
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