Summer is here. Along with the higher temperatures and sunshine come some risks for truck drivers. One might think that winter, with ice and snow and rain, would be most dangerous, but summer has its fair share of risks, too. Summer can be a dangerous time to drive your truck, whether you drive tractor trailers, box trucks, or flatbeds, so check out these summer truck driving tips.
1. Get ready for roadwork.
Summer is a very common time for roadwork and construction. With all of the roadwork, there could be lane closures and detours. Slow down and be extremely careful and aware as you get through the construction zone. Be alert for road signs and follow what they say. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you in case you have to make a sudden stop. Watch for construction workers.
Remember, fines for traffic violations are often increased in work zones.
2. Take your truck for summer maintenance.
Before you hit the road this summer, take your truck for a checkup. Have a trusted mechanic look at your vehicle and check to make sure everything is shipshape. Make sure they check the brakes. It’s really important that your truck is ready for the heat you could be facing. You need to have a preventive maintenance schedule for your truck.
3. Get ready for heavy traffic.
Summer not only means roadwork and construction, which can cause some serious traffic, but it also means road trips. Many people travel over the summer. Again, don’t follow the car in front of you too closely and be very aware of your surroundings. Be a defensive driver and prevent accidents by staying alert for hazards, creating a plan to avoid the danger, and acting on the plan.
It’s really easy to get dehydrated during the summer months, even when you’re driving your truck for hours at a time. Bring plenty of water with you and drink it throughout the day, even if you’re not super thirsty. Try to drink at least eight cups of water every day.
Also, be alert for the signs of heat-related illness. Dizziness, headaches, and muscle-cramps can all be signs of heat-related illness.
5. Wear sunscreen.
Yes, you’re in a truck most of the day, but it’s not a bad idea to apply sunscreen. Your left side is going to take the worst of the sunlight, so keep that in mind, especially if you like to rest your left elbow on the open window. Overexposure to sunlight can cause burns and skin cancer, so don’t forget to apply – and then reapply – sunscreen.
6. Wear sunglasses.
Protect your eyes from the sun with a good pair of sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you drive east to west or vice versa, the sun can be brutal at certain times of the day. And glare and reflections can also wreak havoc on your eyes, so use sunglasses to help you see more clearly. It can be hard to see hazards if you’ve got the sun in your eyes.
7. Get your brakes checked.
We already talked about taking your truck for preventive maintenance, but make sure you get your brakes checked. Driving creates heat, and the temperatures in summer are way higher than normal. If the brakes can’t take any more heat, they could lose friction…and you could lose control of your truck. Get a trusted mechanic to really check your brakes and make any needed repairs. Be preventive with maintaining your brakes.
8. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Summer is prime time for tire blowouts because of the heat. The scorching summer temperatures can be very hard on the tires. Underinflated tires are particularly susceptible to blowouts. Moral of the story: make sure every tire has a safe tire pressure. Tire blowouts are super scary and can cause a bad accident.
9. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Summer can bring some pretty extreme weather. From storms to floods to thunder and lightning to tornadoes, summer weather can be crazy. Pay attention to the weather forecast and adjust your route accordingly. Heed any emergency weather broadcasts and remember that weather conditions can change very quickly.
10. Know what to do if you’re involved in an accident.
Though no one wants to imagine being involved in an accident, it’s important to be prepared for what to do. Be sure that you know the steps to take if something happens.
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