Spring is in the rearview mirror. Summer has officially arrived, and truck drivers need these hot weather hacks. When a summer heat wave hits, it can be detrimental to various jobs, but especially truck drivers. Luckily, there are several ways you can stay cool and beat the heat this summertime that aren’t as crazy as you might think. In this article, we will look at several different hacks to keep yourself cool while running loads from place to place.
1. Hydrate Yourself - Dehydration is a serious concern for summer truckers, and it can be detrimental to a person. Truckers who are on the go a lot, even if they are regional truckers, need to stay hydrated throughout the day, but especially during the hot months of the summertime. One way to ensure that you can stay hydrated is by keeping some water in the cab with you. This can mean cases of bottled water or just a few bottles here and there. Staying hydrated will also help ward off any sluggish feelings, which has its problems when behind the wheel. You can even eat snacks that contain water to keep hydrated, like watermelon and other fruits. Hydration is the #1 tip of Highway Transport's Rolling Strong Program.
2. Protect the Engine - Believe it or not, the engine is an important part of the trucking system, especially during the summer. Staying cool shouldn’t just be for you, but it should also be for your engine, especially if you are doing plenty of regional routes during the summertime. One way to protect your engine from the heat is by checking the engine oil regularly. The oil keeps the engine cool and lubricates it to help the engine parts run smoothly. Without this oil, the engine can overheat and cause serious damage to the truck. You can check the oil, or have the company check the oil by watching the gauge inside the truck or checking is manual. Your engine will also need a coolant, which is very important as well. If you think that your truck might need maintenance to the engine, speaking with the maintenance crew with your company can help ensure that everything remains intact and ready for the open road, no matter the season.
3. Use the Air Conditioning - Hot weather makes trucking during the summer difficult. It doesn’t matter if you are a long-haul trucker or a regional trucker, the summer heat can seriously put a damper on your deliveries. Luckily, the air conditioning system in the truck should be considered when trying to stay cool. Checking the various components regularly like the antifreeze levels and more can help the system to remain in working condition throughout the hot months. If the antifreeze is ever turned off in a truck or it is low, then the air conditioning system will not be able to operate at all. This is very important for keeping yourself cool during the summer.
4. Use a Blanket - You might be wondering why we’re offering this suggestion if we’re trying to help you stay cool. Luckily, using a blanket is going to help protect your body when getting in the car. Many trucks are made with leather seating, which can get extremely hot during the summertime when the sun is beating down on the car all day. If you have leather seats in your truck, try laying a blanket on the seats to help keep them cool. It keeps the sun from directly hitting the seats, and it will avoid burning your body when sitting on the seats. One tip to remember is to use lightly colored blankets since darker colors to attract and absorb more sun.
5. Ice Packs and Cubes - Here's a fun tip: roll a few ice cubes in a bandanna, and tie it around your neck. Ice packs can seriously keep you cool when you are trucking down the road. If you find yourself getting hot, you can bring along a cooler of ice packs or frozen water bottles. When you start feeling a little hot and sluggish, drink a little water and use an ice pack or bottle to put on your neck to keep you cool. This is also great for those who need a little break from the heat, and it can avoid the need to keep the air conditioning system running full blast throughout your trip, which can seriously cut down on fuel. You can also use a chilly pad that keeps itself cool as long as it is wet. These tend to be more expensive and a bit messy, though they are efficient at keeping you cool during the hot summers.
6. Take Breaks - It is okay to do nothing...for a little while. If at all possible, take some breaks. This might mean running inside at the fueling station to enjoy just a few minutes of leg stretching and air conditioning. Getting out of your truck just a few times on your travels can help keep you cooler than before. It is also useful in giving your body a break from being seated at the wheel for so long. If you can, take some time to go inside a restaurant and eat something, making sure to re-hydrate and take a few minutes to stretch and relax. While most truckers are put on strict schedules, it is also possible to take just a few breaks here and there throughout the ride. Regional truckers especially can take advantage of food and restroom breaks. They can give you a few minutes in the cool air outside of the truck, and it is also a good time to stretch and rejuvenate yourself for the remainder of the trip.
7. Sun Screen
Remember, the sun poses special challenges for truck drivers.
We spoke with Dr. Matthew Doppelt, a dermatologist near Highway Transport headquarters in Knoxville, TN. He provided this case study and offers the following comment...
"This photo is proof that even though you may feel like you are protected from the sun's ultraviolet rays by the window, this picture demonstrates otherwise.
source for above:"DAMAGING EFFECTS OF THE SUN" case study by COLORESCIENCE®
The sun not only accelerates the aging process but puts you at a higher risk of skin cancer. I recommend to all my patients a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF should be applied every two hours."
- Dr. Matthew Doppelt
Southeastern Dermatology Consultants
Conclusion - The summer sun can get extremely hot, even if you are a trucker. Being on the open road doesn’t make you any less susceptible to the wiles of the heat caused by the summertime sun. If you are planning to make several routes this summer, remember just a few of the summertime trucking hacks above to help keep yourself and your truck cool and damage free. Driving in the heat is not always easy, and it can take a toll on driver and truck. However, with just a few tips, you can be on the road and stay cool without any issues.
Highway Transport tanker truck drivers enjoy the benefit of having a health coach via Rolling Strong. Highway Transport named its Rolling Strong wellness program in memory of beloved professional truck driver Dale Ducote. Moving forward in this 70th year, Highway teamed up with Rolling Strong to support our fleet with health coaches and a wellness app. Protecting the roads, keeping people safe, serving as a shining example throughout the trucking industry…There is no better way to celebrate this 70-year milestone.
With a 75+ year legacy in the tanker trucking world, Highway Transport is widely considered to be the thought leader of the tanker trucking industry. Since 1948, Highway Transport has been headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee with a reputation that is the epitome of family and tradition. Vice Chairman Greg Watkins says, “My family—the Watkins Family—has a solid legacy in the trucking world. But make no mistake, we have always been very agile when it comes to business. Through the decades, we have quickly adapted to market shifts. Our strong focus on new technology and staying abreast of trends has served us well.” Are you interested in becoming a tanker truck driver for Highway Transport?