Britain has been basking in wonderful sunshine over the last few weeks, with most of us enjoying the mini heatwave while it lasts! But for professional HGV drivers who spend long periods of time sat in cabs, these high temperatures can potentially lead to dehydration and heat stress, which in turn can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, rashes, fainting, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness.
With this in mind, staying cool and safe whilst driving in hot weather needs to be a top priority for HGV drivers, van drivers, transport managers, and fleet operators.
Here’s Our Eight Tip Tips for Driving in Hot Weather:
1. Wear Sunscreen! – We all love feeling the warmth of the sun against our skin, but in higher temperatures, the risk of sunburn is high – particularly on the right-hand side of your face and right arm. To protect your skin, always wear a high factor sunscreen, and preferably a light, long-sleeved shirt.
2. Stay Hydrated – High temperatures mean fast dehydration, and while in-cab air-conditioning helps, it’s no substitute for staying hydrated. Make sure you keep at least one bottle of water in the vehicle with you at all times, and preferably several – you don’t want to be stuck in holiday traffic on the M25 with no water!
3. Don’t Drive Tired – Hot weather leads to drowsiness, so make sure you keep your cab fully ventilated at all times and stop when you can. Caffeinated drinks are also helpful.
4. Watch Out for Extra Drivers – The summer is one of the busiest times of the year on the roads, with lots of additional holiday traffic many of whom will be on unfamiliar journeys. It’s worth just being a little more aware of other traffic than you might normally be, maintain a greater stopping distance, and generally try to give those who look like they’re not sure where they’re going a wide berth!
5. Prepare for Hayfever and Allergies – The combination of high temperatures with lack of rain often increases the pollen count and means that hayfever symptoms are an issue for those who suffer from it. If this is an issue for you, make sure you take any medication regularly to build up resistance (not just on high-pollen days), keep your tissues close to hand and try to maintain a greater stopping distance during sneezing fits. Sneezing at high speeds can affect your visibility for up to 100m, so bear this in mind – particularly when driving on motorways or at speed.
6. Check your Tyres Regularly – High temperatures can cause the air inside your tyres to expand, potentially leading to blow-outs. Check your tyres every few hours or 100 miles, and if the pressure is too high, give the tyre time to cool down before moving off. It’s not advisable to let out any air, as the pressure will then be too low when the tyre’s temperature reduces.
7. Protect your Eyes – Sun glare can be a real problem in the summer, so invest in a good pair of polarised sunglasses to protect your eyes from damage and to reduce glare and dazzle from the roads.
8. Be Aware of the Weather – Summer can bring severe weather such as storms and flash floods. Check the weather forecast frequently so you know what to expect and can change your route or driving hours to avoid potential issues.
If you’re an HGV driver and are looking for a driving agency or temp agency that will offer training and development alongside regular work and a competitive pay structure, contact us today on 0330 335 8367, take a look at our current HGV jobs, or complete our HGV Driver Enquiry Form.