This time of year may seem like it's all about summer fun in the sun, but for truckers like you, some of the conditions of your daily work can actually become more dangerous. For that reason, you need to be highly cognizant of the potential risks you face, and take steps to minimize them so you can keep yourself as safe as possible on the road.
The following tips should help you do just that in the next few months:
1) Always check your truck before you hit the road
The summer heat, high levels of humidity and road conditions can all come together to take an extra toll on your truck over hundreds or thousands of miles, according to Schneider. That means you should be a little more vigilant about ensuring your big rig's various components are in good shape before every trip.
2) Wear sunglasses
This may seem obvious, but when you are driving on sunny days, it's important to ensure you aren't temporarily blinded by glare, Schneider added. Put on a pair of sunglasses and flip down your visor, and you'll be in better shape to protect yourself.
3) Be ready to take breaks
A trucker's job is physically and mentally taxing even in ideal conditions, and when it's hot out on the road, that can wear you down even more, Schneider cautioned. As such, be prepared to give yourself some extra breaks or just take a few more minutes than you normally might, just to make sure you're 100%.
4) Hydrate regularly
It's critical to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you're going to be exerting yourself outdoors, according to All State Career. Get a refillable bottle and make sure you top it off at every stop so you never run out — and don't expect soda or coffee to keep you hydrated.
5) Don't expect other drivers to behave rationally
Summer is the busiest time of year for highway driving, and those extra-crowded roadways pose a bigger hazard for motorists, All State Career said. As such, you need to be extra-vigilant and give yourself as much space as you can — especially in heavy traffic — because you just can't account for what those weekend warriors are likely to do.
6) Make sure your tires are properly inflated
When temperatures rise, so does the risk of a blowout if your tires aren't properly inflated, All State Career advised. Check them before every trip.
7) Keep an eye on the weather
In certain parts of the country, especially the Midwest, the weather can change in an instant during the summer, according to America Truck Driving School. Consequently, you should always check the forecast and have a plan for what you will do if conditions get dangerous.
8) Block out the sun's rays
Finally, sun protection is a must throughout the summer — even on a cloudy day — and you should have plenty of options here, America Truck Driving School added. That includes wearing long sleeves, those aforementioned sunglasses and a hat to keep your arms and face protected. Any part of your skin that's exposed (especially when you're out of your truck) should get a healthy layer of sunscreen.
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