Most of the common rules of the road stay the same. However, many change depending on a number of factors, such as time of day, traffic patterns or what season it is. With that in mind, summer might be the easiest season for driving in a lot of respects, but it still comes with its own unique rules for truckers to keep themselves, their big rigs and other motorists safe on an ongoing basis.
Here are five great ways for truckers to stay safe this summer:
1) Check your tire pressure
While you may not always think about it, the hot summer sun can do a number on under-inflated tires, according to All State Career. Tires are known to blow out more easily in heat to begin with, and this is also true when tires don't have the recommended amount of air in them. As a consequence, combining the two is something of a force multiplier, meaning it's even more important for drivers to make sure every tire on their truck is properly inflated.
2) Examine your brakes
In much the same manner as tires, brakes can take a beating in summer because heat reduces friction, All State added. When temperatures rise too high, brakes are less effective at absorbing the heat from the friction braking requires to bring a big rig to a halt, meaning they will take longer to be effective. Finding ways to keep your brakes cool is, therefore, a must in sweltering conditions.
3) Take it slow on hills
Another temperature-related risk comes when your engine is working too hard, according to Truck Dynasty Driving Academy. If you're driving up a hill and really leaning on the gas, all the extra work won't cause the engine to overheat in normal conditions, but if it's particularly hot out, the risk becomes very real. While there's no way to reduce that risk, going more slowly up a hill will reduce the amount of work your engine has to do, and thus slashes your risk of break down.
4) Take care of yourself
There are plenty of personal health risks that come with trucking in the summer, as well, according to Fleet Clean. For instance, your chance of sunburn greatly increases, so wearing long sleeves in the cab is a good idea, as is applying sunscreen and keeping sunglasses and a hat handy. In addition, it's a good idea to make sure you have plenty of food and water on hand at all times to make sure you're getting proper nutrition and hydration throughout the day, as your body grapples with the intense heat.
5) Keep an eye out
Summer is the time of year when roads are most active, and therefore your risk of getting into an accident rises as well, Fleet Clean advised. In addition to more motorists sharing the roads with you - which can present challenges even in ideal driving conditions - you're also more likely to encounter pedestrians, animals and road construction. As long as you're staying vigilant about these risks, at all hours of the day or night, you'll be in good shape.
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