Most people love rolling the windows down and cruising along on a summer drive. But for truckers, summer driving is not just a nice few minutes between destinations, it’s their full time job with its own set of precautions and problems to look out for in order to stay safe and comfortable. Here are our tips for summer trucking:
Ensure a Cool Cab
During a hot summer, you must be wary of heat exhaustion and dehydration. If your AC is on the fritz, check your freon levels and consider having a professional recharge your system and balance the pressure. Other AC issues can include a faulty high pressure switch, malfunctioning compressor, or contaminants clogging the system. You can also invest in a windshield sun shade to keep the cab from getting too hot when you’re away.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
Dehydration is not only bad for your general health, it can also make you drowsy while driving, putting you at risk for vehicle accidents. You’re supposed to drink around 2 liters of water every day, and the hotter it is the more you need to drink to stay hydrated. Prepare to stay hydrated by packing lots of water bottles for your drive.
Keep Your Vehicle Hydrated
Before things really heat up, check your truck’s fluid levels, including brake, coolant, automatic transmission, power steering, and windshield washer fluids. Make sure you have a full reservoir of each before hitting those summer roads, and get your semi serviced if you see any issues.
Protect Your Skin
“Trucker’s arm” tan-lines are no joke, as consistent exposure to UV rays, like those constantly coming through your windshield and windows, can put you at risk for melanoma. Frequently apply sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF — the higher the better — to any exposed skin, and consider wearing hats and long-sleeve shirts.
Protect Your Vision
The summer sun contributes to increased sun glare when on the road, especially in the mornings and evenings. Find yourself a quality pair of polarized sunglasses that can keep the sun out of your eyes, helping you to avoid eye fatigue and clearly see the road while driving.
Prepare for Summer Weather
With summer comes thunderstorms, flooding, heat waves, and hurricanes. Be ready for whatever comes your way by downloading a weather app and turning on its notifications, and pack emergency supplies in case you get stuck in the worst of it.
Check Your Brakes
Brake fading often occurs in hot weather, as overheated brake components can wear down and no longer absorb and dissipate heat, leading brake fluid to boil and reducing your braking power. This contributes to increased stopping distances and shortened brake life, so be sure to check your brakes as summer heats up.
Check Your Tires
Air expands in higher temperatures, which can cause your tires to inflate. So when you add the natural heat of summer, plus contact with scorching hot pavement, plus heat created by the friction of driving at high speeds, and summertime becomes a high-risk season for tire blowouts. Frequently check the pressure of both your steer and drive tires in the summer.
Prepare for Summer Traffic
Everyone and their mom seem to be on the road during the summer. To make it to your destination on-time, build in extra time for traffic, re-route away from tourist hotspots, check the calendar for traffic-heavy holidays like the 4th of July, and keep an eye out for all the additional drivers who don’t know how to share the road with big rigs.
Prepare for Summer Construction
Good weather brings out road construction, so be sure to frequently check your routes for construction delays. When on the road, carefully look out for traffic adjustment signs and follow them closely, keeping in mind that speeding and other traffic violations within work-zones often come with higher fines.
Increase Your Braking Distance
With everything we’ve discussed above — more traffic, more construction, sun glare, the chance of heat affecting your tires and brakes, etc. — it’s better to be more safe than sorry, so increasing your braking distance is always a good idea while driving in the summer.
Conclusion: We hope these tips can help you keep cool during summer trucking. And if you’re looking for your next commercial vehicle, be sure to check out the nationwide selection at CommercialTruckTrader.com.