Tip 1: Wear Sun Protection
The biggest mistake truckers make when driving in hot, sunny weather is thinking that they're safe from the sun's harmful UV rays. The truth is, even with your windows closed, solar radiation can easily penetrate into your semi truck's cab and give drivers sunburns - or worse. It's not just a "trucker's tan" you have to worry about - sun exposure can lead to major skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer.
The best way to keep your skin safe is to wear sun protection of one sort or another. Sunblock is a good option, but you can also simply wear long-sleeved shirts and a hat with a wide brim to keep sun off your skin while you're in or outside your truck. Either way, don't make the mistake of underestimating sun damage.
Tip 2: Stay Hydrated
Another big mistake truckers make is thinking that a large soda at a truck stop is enough fluid to keep them hydrated throughout the day. This is a bad idea for a few reasons. First, your body needs quite a lot of fluid to keep working - one drink isn't going to cut it.
Second, soda and sugary sports drinks can actually make you more dehydrated, since your body needs water to process the sugars in them. You're better off drinking lots of plain bottled water. Try to aim for at least 64 ounces per day (that's four 16-oz bottles), and more if you're working outside a lot or tend to sweat heavily.
Flatbedders - I'm looking at you! Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces every day. Not only does drinking water keep you hydrated, but it also provides numerous other health benefits. Staying hydrated will help keep energy levels up while on the road.
Tip 3: Keep an Eye on your Truck
If you've been driving for dozens or hundreds of miles without issue, it's easy to let things slide. However, hot weather and high temperatures can quickly cause equipment problems. These can include problems with your tires and tire pressure, coolant system, and strain on your engine, transmission, and air conditioner. Always keep an eye on your fluids and gauges when it starts to get hot out, and never ignore something that you think might cause a problem later on. For instance, if you know your brakes are getting thin, get them checked and serviced as soon as possible - hot weather can lead to more brake fade and less stopping power.
Tip 4: Be Prepared for Work Zones
Most road work occurs during the summer months,
which means you'll probably encounter more work zones, heavy traffic, and stops than you would during other times of the year. It pays to be careful in work zones so you can avoid accidents and also prevent fines for speeding or other violations. Make sure to plan your route in advance - this can help you
avoid known work zones and be prepared for the ones you can't go around.
Tip 5: Stay Aware of the Weather
While drivers raised in Oklahoma know how severe the weather can get here, it always pays to look at the weather reports no matter where you're driving. Summer storms can pop up quickly in any state, and if you aren't prepared for it you could get into an accident. Another good option is to keep a weather radio in the cab of your truck so you get any storm or weather alerts as they're issued.