Ballpark franks, popsicles, lemonade and backyard cookouts are all good signs of the summer season. On the other hand, road construction, the hot sun, and an abundance of campers clogging the highways are also sure signs summer is in full swing. While most people do not connect summer fun with dangerous driving conditions, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the 100 most dangerous days on America’s roadways. As such, drivers should be at their best but often times allow their driving skills to slip because of the warm weather and dry roads.
The most apparent danger for commercial truck drivers during the summer months is a drastic increase in the amount of other vehicles on the road. Statistically, there are more drivers on the road during the summer than any other season, especially around the summer holidays. Other vehicles also have a tendency to drive faster and be more aggressive. As such, truck drivers need to be extra aware of their surroundings, especially their NO ZONE and use caution when making lane changes with the increased congestion.
In addition to more cars on the highways, additional construction zones pop up on every major roadway, reducing the amount of roadway for the increase in capacity. A good thing to do is check the status of the roads you will be traveling on. Many states across the nation have websites that updates on their construction areas and lane closures. Drivers should use this tool to their advantage and plan for possible dangers or delays in the areas they are traveling. Making a plan, being aware of areas where extra precautions should be taken, following posted signs, and maintaining your lane at a safe speed and distance are important safety strategies of a professional driver.
Truck maintenance is also an important factor in safe summer driving. Thus, commercial drivers need to keep up with their daily inspections as well as make sure the general maintenance is routinely completed on their trucks. A couple basic, but often forgotten about items, are proper tire pressure and a clean windshield. Fluctuating temperatures during the summer can cause changes in tire pressure. The proper tire pressure is essential for the safe and efficient operation of the truck. A clean windshield, inside and out, reduces the sun’s glare that can cause additional blind spots for drivers if the windshield is kept clean. Also, drivers must keep an eye on the condition of the truck’s brakes. Additional heat during the summer time can cause a loss of friction due to brake components not being able to absorb anymore heat.
Last but not least, drivers need to take care of themselves. One of the ways they can do this is staying hydrated. The risk of dehydration increases during the heat of the day, and a driver that is dehydrated is less focused and healthy. While on the road during long, hot days, drivers should drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water since they will need more than just the air conditioner to keep them cool. Commercial drivers should also be aware that, even while being inside the truck, they are still exposed to the sun’s rays. If the sun is shining bright, drivers should have sunscreen to put on any skin that is exposed to the sun. Nothing is more uncomfortable than driving for hours with a horrible sunburn.
Summer and winter each have their own safety concerns. It is always best to be aware of all safety issues no matter the season. The most important safety tip for drivers is being aware and acting on their awareness. If drivers are aware of their surroundings (other drivers, weather, road conditions, maintenance, and construction zones) they will return to their home & families safely each week.
*For more safety tips feel free to call Continental Express’ Safety Department at 800-497-2100.
* If you are interested in driving opportunities with Continental Express, call to speak with a Recruiter at 800-497-2100.