How to Plan for Driver Health During the Hot Summer Months
Summer is almost upon us, and with it comes an extra layer of safety precautions to promote good summer driver health. As with any season, summer presents a new set of challenges to overcome as drivers navigate different climates, temperatures, and conditions in different parts of the country.
What are the potential health hazards for drivers during the summer?
While the summer seems like it should be slow and easy, it’s anything but. While you don’t have to worry about blizzards or severe weather in most cases, you need to be aware of an increase in traffic and construction, as well as the toll that heat and sun can take on a trucker’s body.
Why Health and Safety are Important During the Summer
There are a lot of factors that can put truck drivers’ health at risk, especially during long hauls. While the summer is a slower season for other industries, it means more traffic, more slow-downs, and more health hazards for truck drivers.
The summer sun can present a nice, warm change from winter months, but can also present real risks to driver health when not addressed properly. The sun can cause a glare and impact vision long term, so it’s important that drivers protect their eyes. It can also cause painful sunburns, which can lead to health problems later in life if the skin is not protected.
When driving in the summer months, keep the “Five Ps” top of mind to ensure summer driver health and safety for the long haul and the long term.
Prepare for Traffic Congestion
Summer is the season for tourists, so expect traffic congestion on major roadways. This can lead to quite a bit of anxiety on the part of car drivers and truckers alike and can lead to poor decision making.
Be sure to leave early and account for slow-downs on your route, to ensure timely deliveries without pushing it on the road. Safety is an absolute imperative, so be safe by checking for traffic delays and road conditions before planning your trip.
Protect Your Eyes
Summer driver health is all about protecting your body from the risks of bright suns and heat. During the summer, the sun is especially bright, so high-quality, polarized sunglasses are essential for driving during the day.
Additionally, early morning and mid-evening sun can cause a glare, which can be dangerous to drivers, especially with more cars on the road. Take extra time to absorb surroundings and check glare spots for cars you may have missed.
Protect Your Skin
We’ve all heard of “trucker arm.” This happens when truck drivers rest their arms out the window of their truck, getting a sunburn. Days upon days of this and truckers can experience painful blistering and permanent skin damage.
Use sunscreen to protect the skin, and roll up windows occasionally to give skin a break from UV rays.
Protect Your Truck
The summer heat puts an extra burden on a truck. It’s important during the summer to check fluids, especially coolant, during summer hauls.
When you’re driving in a hotter, drier climate, the weather can take a larger toll on a truck and even cause major issues if not addressed. Preventable maintenance is especially important during summer months when trucks are exposed to heat and elements at more extreme levels.
Pay Attention to Your Body
It’s easy to ignore the signs of dehydration. At least 518,000 people end up hospitalized each year in the U.S. due to dehydration. During an extended period outside, you may start to feel fatigued or disoriented.
This is your body telling you to cool down and hydrate. Make sure you take regular breaks and drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. Dehydration can lead to detrimental health effects and can even land you in the hospital, so make a plan to drink enough water.
Another good idea is to carry electrolyte pouches with you at all times. These are small, easy packaged powders that can be added to bottled water to give you an instant boost.
In addition to hydration, make sure to eat healthy food to fuel your body during the hot summer months. While we typically think of the winter as a season for sickness, the summer can present its own health challenges when you’re not properly nourished.
Key Takeaways about Summer Driver Health:
- Summertime presents a new set of challenges for truck drivers
- Protect yourself and your truck from breaking down by establishing a preventable maintenance routine during the summer.
- Use the “5 Ps” to ensure summer driver health.
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has a library of 1,000+ training videos on important health and safety topics, including protecting drivers during the summer months. Our videos use microlearning strategies that break the material down into bite-sized chunks, making it easier for drivers to comprehend and retain the information.
For more information on the online training videos available, request a catalog.