Top Tips for Truck Drivers Staying Cool in the Summer Months!
Summer can be a great time of year to be out on the road trucking. It does, however, bring its own set of challenges and you need to be prepared for them. With that in mind, here are some tips on staying cool as temperatures rise.
Hydration means drinking water. If you can’t face drinking just plain water, then healthy soft drinks are also good. Some fizzy drinks are OK but many are full of caffeine (and other chemicals). This can stimulate you in the short term but the effect will wear off and can do so very quickly. If you’re drinking a lot of water, you may also need to add supplements to top up your vitamin-/mineral-balance.
Use Sun Cream Generously (even in your cab)
Glass is no protection whatsoever against UV rays. Use high sun-protection factor (SPF) on all exposed areas and reapply it as the manufacturer advises. This will usually be every couple of hours. It’s a good idea to use a lip balm with the highest SPF you can find.
Protect Your Eyes from Glare
There’s not a lot of point in keeping your eyes on the road if you can’t see it because of the glare from the sun. Sunglasses are a must and a peaked hat or just a visor can be a useful partner for them. You might also want to consider a sweatband.
If your company has a dress code, they should cut you some slack with it if it becomes inappropriate for the weather. If they don’t, then remind them of their health and safety obligations. Keep in mind, however, that dress codes were often created with health and safety in mind. For example, wearing boots instead of trainers does offer more protection during manual activities such as loading and unloading.
With this in mind, it’s preferable to speak to your employer on the basis of offering a solution to a problem rather than creating one. For example, you could agree to wear trainers or even sandals in your cab but to switch to boots for loading and unloading.
Use Air-Con (or fans/freezer packs)
If your cab has air-con, use it. If it doesn’t, consider bringing along a portable fan and possibly some freezer packs as well. You may find it best to use a battery-operated fan. This will avoid putting an excess load on your truck’s battery. You might also want to invest in a solar charger. This will allow you to recharge on the go (and you can use it for other batteries too).
Use Your Rest Breaks to Rest
Rest doesn’t have to mean sleep. In fact, it doesn’t even have to mean staying still. It should, however, mean switching off. By all means, get some fresh air and do some stretches if you wish. If you don’t, however, just relax. Forget about doing anything productive like catching up on messages. Leave that for the evening when temperatures are cooler and you’ll probably find it easier to focus.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Weather Conditions
Thermal underwear, gloves, a hat and foldaway waterproofs will take up hardly any space in your bag. This means that it’s worth bringing them along even though you’re highly unlikely to use them. If there is an unexpected spell of bad weather, you’ll be glad of them.
Expect Heavy Traffic
Summer is both peak holiday season and peak roadwork season. Make allowances for both when you plan your journeys.
Inspect Your Truck Regularly
Heat can play havoc with tyre pressure, brake performance and cooling elements (especially the cooling fan). There is really nothing you can do to prevent this. You can, should (and legally must) keep a close eye on your truck’s condition.
As a minimum, you should check your truck at the start and end of your journey. Ideally, you should check it during the course of your journey. For example, if you stop for fuel check your tyre pressure and the level of your cooling fluid.