With the Amber heatwave warnings come the inevitable heat exhaustion and sweaty, clammy cabs. Most people try to do as little as possible during this kind of weather, including driving. But since driving is your job, that’s pretty hard for you to do. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. This summer, as the temperature creeps up, we have a few tips to help you stay cool in your cab.
Just because you’re hidden behind a windscreen doesn’t mean you’re protected from the effects of the sun. In fact, you’re probably at more risk, since your windscreen and windows will be acting like a big greenhouse. This might be nice at first, or you might not even feel it if you have the aircon cranked up, but the effect is still there. So every time you go out on the road in the day, make sure you’re wearing sun cream on all exposed skin, along with a hat and sunglasses to keep your head and eyes safe, and help you see through the glare of the sun.
You’ll be hearing this from every direction, but you really do need to keep yourself properly hydrated when the weather is this warm. Dehydration is a serious risk, even if you’re in a nice air-conditioned cab. If we’re dehydrated, we can’t concentrate, we get upset stomachs, headaches, light-headedness and overall weakness. None of which make for safe driving of a several tonne vehicle. Before you set out, make sure you have had plenty to drink, and have at least one if not two water bottles with you when you’re out on the road.
We know you watch the road carefully anyway. It’s part of being a good HGV driver. But over the summer, the hazards on the road aren’t you, but other drivers. Holidaymakers and day-trippers, all embarking on long drives on roads they aren’t familiar with. Drivers are tired, irritable, and distracted by the kids in the back asking if they’re nearly there yet. This kind of motorist can be very dangerous, making sudden moves on the road without notice and often without looking around them properly first. So over the summer holidays, in particular, you’ll need to keep an extra eye on other motorists and take measures to stay extra safe.
There have been a lot of wild rumours going around about what this kind of heat can do to vehicles – including making fuel tanks explode if they’re filled too full. We’re happy to say this is absolute nonsense! But one thing that is more likely to explode in such harsh weather conditions is your tyres. The heat will be warming up the road, the air and the rubber in your tyres, all of which makes them more prone to bending, stretching and blowing out. So before you leave on your first journey of the day, it’s worth checking your tyre pressure and inflating them if needed. This will help protect against blowouts, and stop you being stranded on the side of the road in the baking sun!
Of course, you know it’s hot. But this kind of heatwave can also bring with it other extremes of weather that you might not be expecting or prepared for. Some common heatwave freak weather patterns include flooding, thunderstorms and even hail! Changes in weather can happen very suddenly and without a whole lot of warning, so you could easily be driving along in the sun one minute and contending with torrential rain the next. The best you can do to avoid being caught out is to keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure you’re prepared for anything Mother Nature might be throwing at you during your shift.
At The LGV Training Centre, learning how to drive safely in all weather conditions is just one part of our training programme. From snow to blazing sun, we help our learners understand how to keep them, their vehicle and other road users safe during extreme weather. For more information, just get in touch with the team today.