Driver Safety Tips for the Summer
Welcome to July, folks! Fleet safety directors know what summer means. And we’re all preparing for hot, hot summers and crazier weather than usual. Our driver safety tips will help you prepare for this summer’s hottest weather and keep your drivers healthy and happy.
Driver Safety Tips for the Summer
It’s already common practice to go the extra mile to keep drivers comfortable, such as purchasing external power units to maintain A/C when drivers are in the sleeper. Awareness about summer heat and driver health is higher than ever.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind as “going the extra mile” for summer drivers continues to become standard practice.
Training that’s short and sweet
You know you need to train on heat-related topics. But heat dangers don’t arise 365 days a year. When a training need is urgent but occasional, you need a flexible way to get info to drivers. Summer is an excellent opportunity to get creative. Take some of your training online rather than trying to gather drivers on site. You don’t want to put drivers’ health at risk, but onsite training on summer topics can be impractical in terms of time and cost. Integrate extra training with their regular routine.
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions uses online training tools to keep training short and effective. It’s easy to switch up or add topics, and you can train according to your own schedule and your own fleet’s needs. Scroll down for a free demo.
Hit different needs, keep drivers’ attention
When communicating with drivers about summer heat, you want to be taken seriously. Heat stroke is serious. Losing cargo is serious. Accidents and incidents from blown tires or faulty equipment can be serious. Keep messages and training relevant for each driver.
For example, some reminders, like hydration, are going to apply to all of your drivers. But others, like checking refrigeration units, only apply to some. Don’t make everyone go through “blanket” training programs if there’s going to be material they don’t need. Customize as much as possible. That way, drivers don’t tune you out or run messages through a mental “spam” filter.
Also, try not to send messages throughout the year labeled “URGENT” that aren’t. Don’t cry wolf so you can maintain trust, and the urgent messages can stand out.
The most important reminders
Customize training to drivers’ needs, and you’re helping keep them safe. Here are some of your key summer safety topics:
Staying hydrated – It’s easy to get dehydrated and not know it. You can’t keep track of how much you’re sweating, but you can keep track of how much water you’re taking in. Help drivers get the water they need, know what to drink and eat, and what to avoid.
Skin protection – From sunscreen and hats to shade and proper clothing, skin protection in the sun equals reducing risks of skin cancer and sunburn. Give them tips to protect their skin when they hop in the cab, such a placing a blanket on leather seats.
The power of heat – Simply staying aware of heat improves safety, because it can sneak up on you. A cab’s temperature can rise 29 degrees in 20 minutes. Provide tips. For example, where idling is limited, find a place to cool off rather than remain in the cab.
Signs of heat stress – Drivers should be able to recognize these and respond quickly with intervention before it gets worse. Examples of symptoms include fatigue, faintness, muscle cramps, and a feeling of chill or goosebumps in the heat.
Checking A/C units – Make this a regular habit, for tractors as well as cooling/refrigeration units in trailers.
Confined space entry – They’re going to be entering and needing to work inside trailers, no matter how hot it is. It can get extremely hot quickly, so they need safety reminders. For example, how to tell when it’s time to take a break.
Livestock and food – There are particular dangers and risks here. Live animals, such as cattle and chickens, need special care. They can overheat, get sick, and even die. You may need to train creatively on this, such as planning to move animals or dairy products through specific areas only at night.
Canadian drivers – Temperatures in the lower U.S. could easily take Canadian drivers by surprise. The degree of heat is hard to imagine until you’re there. Driving in areas like Phoenix, Florida, or South Texas will require extra preparation. Include custom “Danger zone” training for the Southwestern U.S. and high-humidity areas.
Protecting trucks themselves – Regular equipment checks are a must. Components most vulnerable to heat include tires, brakes, coolant, and engine — especially engine oil. Send reminders for things like frequent brake and oil checks, downshifting on descents, and checking tire pressure.
Easy for drivers to stay in touch
Make sure you’ve got no crinkles in the lines of communication. If there’s something wonky going on with trucks’ A/C units in Nevada, you could have lives at risk. You need to hear from the drivers.
Then, you need to be able to act quickly. A great way to do this is through an online posting page that drivers check every day. “Make sure your fluids are all right” or “Is everybody’s A/C functioning?” are great examples of posts you should be generating regularly in summer months.
With employee wellness and the environment topping the “hot button” list, facing these issues head-on not only helps keep your fleet safe but makes you an industry leader.
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions would love to help you cover all your summer safety topics. We customize training so you can meet specific safety goals. We also create a welcome page for directors to message their drivers, getting info out to your whole fleet and repair team, and increasing safety mindfulness.