Summer means your drivers will be out on the long, hot road. While some people prefer the heat to the bitter cold of winter, summer can be just as dangerous. It’s important that your drivers stay cool in summer; the heat can cause all kinds of problems that could lead to accidents or health problems for your drivers, such as heatstroke. There are a few ways in which you can help your drivers by reminding them to prepare for summer.
Everybody knows to do it, but few people actually do it as often as they should. This is especially true of truck drivers. In addition to the usual side effects of sunburn and “truck driver arm”, the sun can actually make your drivers sick. Sun poisoning is a real thing and truck drivers are especially at risk sitting for hours under the reflected light of the windshield. No one likes sunburn, but most of us are willing to tolerate it because we’re too lazy to put on sunscreen. Be sure your drivers know the real risks of not using it.
Some drivers don’t like to burn extra gas by turning on the air conditioner, or they just prepare the breeze of the open window. That’s all well and good, but a nice breeze doesn’t cancel out humidity or that sun. Sometimes, you need to blast the A/C for a little while to cool down. You can still dehydrate or overheat with a breeze, but A/C cools your entire surroundings and cools your whole body down. If your fleet uses older trucks that use portable units, make sure they work. Every driver should have functioning A/C and heat no matter what. And for the record, it has been shown that on longer drives it can actually be more fuel efficient to use A/C instead of with the windows down because of drag effect.
This is the golden rule of summer for everyone. You should constantly be drinking WATER. Drivers prefer their caffeine and maybe they drink a Gatorade too. But that’s not properly hydrating. You have to drink ten glasses of water a day in the summer and more if it’s hotter than usual. Drivers may not like to drink water or run the risk of having to stop to use the bathroom, but it beats being dehydrated and sluggish behind the wheel.
Summer means construction and rising temperatures. Teach your drivers to check ahead of time for traffic and weather reports if they don’t already. Nothing is worse than sitting in a traffic jam in blazing heat with nothing to drink and A/C working less effectively. These situations are sometimes (but certainly not always) avoidable with a little prep. The radio, as drivers know, also helps keep off drowsiness when driving in the heat.
Drivers may not want to spend more time stopped than they have to, but if they pull off to refuel at a service plaza, they should consider a shower, even if they already took one that day. It doesn’t even have to be a long shower; maybe just a five-minute rinse. Not only will your drivers feel better but they will actually be doing their bodies a favor. When people sweat their pores in the skin tend to clog, and they stay that way even after sweat dries. If you shower more as you sweat more, your body can more properly continue to cool you down and keep your body temperature more normal. When drivers get out to stretch their legs, they should think about a quick rinse.
Trucks, of course, can overheat as well. That won’ t happen if your drivers and techs are extra diligent about checking fluid levels and the engine. A leaky radiator won’t cool a truck entirely and that can lead to some serious engine problems like stalling and overheating that can lead to accidents.
Keep your drivers cool in the summer, because cool drivers are safe drivers.
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