Well, the Amber heatwave warning has been announced, and for HGV drivers across the country it set off a chain reaction of groans. In this kind of heat, many people will slow down, avoiding doing anything they don’t have to do, including driving. But for an HGV driver, you need to be on the road making deliveries every day, regardless of the weather. So how can you cope with the heat? We have a few suggestions of small changes you can make that will make this Amber heatwave much easier to deal with.
You might think you’re safe from the rays of the sun in your cab, but unfortunately, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, in some ways, you’re actually worse off since the windows around you will be acting like one big greenhouse and UV magnifying glass in one. So even if you aren’t leaving your cab, you need to protect yourself from the sun. That means sun cream, long sleeves (if you can stand them), hat and sunglasses at a minimum. If you don’t, you could end up with some nasty burns and some quite interesting tan lines!
You’ll be hearing this from all angles, but hydration really is quite important. While it’s unlikely you’ll get chronic dehydration from the seat of your cab, if you don’t drink enough while you’re driving you might start to feel the effects. Stomach cramps, exhaustion, lack of concentration and severe headaches all point towards needing more good old H2O. So before you set off make sure you’ve drunk your fill and eaten properly (since this heat can make us not want to eat, but you need the energy), and that you take a couple of bottles of water with you on the road to top up with.
Summer holidays means only one thing – more cars on the road. Families, holidaymakers and other Sunday drivers will all be hitting the road to enjoy the summer sunshine. But that means more to an HGV driver than looking enviously out of the window. It means there are now hundreds of extra potential hazards on the road, in the form of inexperienced drivers, drivers on roads they don’t know, and drivers distracted by the ever-present ‘are we there yet?’ as they try to work out where they’re going. This all adds up to some pretty unpredictable driver behaviour that you need to be ready for. Keep an extra eye on the other drivers around you, and give extra space if need be to keep you and them safe.
In this kind of weather, all sorts of things become a little tougher to deal with, or a little more delicate. In the case of HGV’s, the heat is going to be most noticeable around your tyres. After all, the weather is heating up the air, the tarmac and the rubber, plus you are creating even more heat and friction when you drive. All of this can add up to some very unhappy tyres. In these conditions, it’s much more likely that you will suffer a tyre blowout when on the road due to delicate rubber. To prevent this, make sure you check your tyre pressure every day and keep them properly inflated. This isn’t a fool-proof method, but it could mean you don’t have to spend the day roasting in the sun at the side of the road waiting for a tyre replacement!
Be Aware Of the Weather
Yes, we know it’s hot. But hot weather of this level doesn’t just bring the heat with it. It’s such an extreme that it often triggers other weather events, without warning. And if you’re not prepared, you could be caught out. For just a few examples, heatwaves have been known to cause flooding, thunderstorms and even hail at the drop of a hat. So every day that you go out driving, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the weather forecast and packing for whatever might be thrown your way during the drive.
At Surrey & Hampshire HGV Training, we pride ourselves on helping learner drivers learn not just how to drive, but how to take care of themselves, their HGV and other road users as well, whatever the weather. If you’d like to find out more about our HGV driving courses, or just want more tips for staying safe in the sun, just get in touch with us today.
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