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Summertime is a great time for people to spend time outdoors. You get to enjoy amazing views and catch enough sunlight to give you a good tan.
For truckers, however, summer can be challenging for both you and your truck. The hot weather and long-distance drive can accelerate brake fade and cause a drop in tire pressure and increased oil consumption. The blazing heat also makes the driver uncomfortable, affecting his focus and attention and increasing fatigue, so additional caution and the right preparation are necessary.
Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned trucker, following the truck driving safety tips below could help you beat the heat and reduce exhaustion while on the road during summer days.
- Stay properly hydrated.
Increase your water intake, especially on the hottest days of the year. This will keep you hydrated and help your body cool down. While on a trip, you are constantly losing water by sweating, breathing, and urinating. Make it a point to replenish this water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Not having enough water in the body leads to dehydration, making you feel nauseous, sluggish, and exhausted. Always have bottles of water handy during your trip, and drink at regular intervals. Proper hydration can ward off heatstroke and heat exhaustion and help with the body’s mental and physical functions.
- Eat healthy and fresh.
One of the best ways to stay healthy and energized while driving under the scorching summer heat is to eat fresh and healthy food. This is not big of a problem because gardens and plantations are rich in healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables during the hot season. You can bring salads and other cold food and fruits and vegetables that you can eat after thorough rinsing. These include tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, watermelon, oranges, apples, and bananas. Some snacks can also keep your energy up under the scorching summer heat. Among them are roasted chickpeas, yogurt and granola, pumpkin seeds, and mixed nuts.
- Put on some sunscreen.
Though you stay in a closed and air-conditioned cabin all day, constant exposure to the sun shining through the driver’s side window can be harmful to your skin. Not to mention the times you need to go down your truck during your breaks or when you need to load or unload cargo. Avoid getting the so-called “Driver’s Tan” or “Trucker’s Arm” by applying a generous amount of sunscreen on your skin or wearing a light, long-sleeved shirt.
- Take some breaks.
When you're in for a long haul, it's a good practice to take a break every now and then, regardless of the weather. This will give your body time to recharge and rest from long periods of sitting. If the weather or circumstances permit, take some time out of the cabin. Take a short walk around the area or go inside a diner to eat. If you are refueling, go out and stretch your legs or brisk walk or jog inside at the fueling station. Giving yourself some time to rejuvenate and do some stretching can do wonders when it comes to minimizing driving fatigue.
- Monitor the traffic situation.
During summer, roads tend to be more crowded due to vacationers and people taking their time off work. Heavy traffic poses more dangers to truckers, so be extra cautious and alert. Before heading out, check the traffic reports, and if possible, try to avoid congested roads.
- Wear light and comfortable clothes.
For your comfort, wear the right set of clothing. Allow your body to breathe by putting on a shirt made of comfy, lightweight material like cotton. And before you hit the road, make sure to bring enough set clothes, so you can change or take a quick shower whenever possible.
- Maintain cool cabin temperature.
Before your trip, check your cabin’s air conditioning unit and make sure it is working properly. Keep the temperature in your truck’s cabin lower than outside, but not extremely low, so your organisms won’t have a hard time adjusting. While a big temperature difference will easily cool you down, it is harmful to you and your rig. If possible, keep your truck ventilated and make sure you are prepared to drive in a hot environment. Like your body, also try to give the air conditioner a break. When you are resting or taking a break, open all the windows so fresh air could come in.
- Watch your driving speed.
Running at high speeds makes your big rig prone to overheating and puts additional stress on the engine and tires. The combination of high speeds and hot temperatures can be detrimental to these components. Don’t drive too fast to avoid engine overheating and allow the tires and the engine to cool off by taking frequent breaks.
- Keep tabs on the weather.
Like in winter, when drivers prepare their rigs in dealing with snow and ice storms, the summer months also have some bad weather, like heavy downpours and thunderstorms, that you must prepare for. Slick pavements are unsafe, so make it a point to inspect your brakes and tires at the onset of the summer season. Check the weather forecast for your route and destination. This way, you can change your route or adjust your itinerary to avoid getting caught off guard in a thunderstorm.
- Help your truck beat the heat.
Of course, you also need to help your truck beat the heat and stay in top shape to keep your business moving on the hot summer days. It pays to give your truck pre-and post-trip checks to detect issues early on. Regularly monitor your tire pressure because the chance of tire blowouts increases in high temperatures. Make sure your tires are properly inflated throughout your trip.
Take care of your cabin’s air conditioning unit. You will need it a lot this summer. Take care of your engine by making sure the engine oil is regularly topped up to avoid overheating. Inspect your truck’s belts and hoses, making sure they are not cracked or do not have signs of breakage before you head on to your trip.
When you need help in preparing your big rig for summer, FinditParts is here to help. We’ve got a wide array of truck parts and accessories to help restore the tiptop shape and functionality of your tires, A/C unit, hoses, and other components. We also have the necessary fluids you need to top up your coolant and other automotive oil and lubricants. Browse our catalog now, and we’ll help gear up your rig for the hot summer days.