Top Tips for Staying Cool Whilst on the Road this Summer
We all love the summer. Bright days, warm afternoons in the garden, and even the occasional vacation. As an HGV driver, you can enjoy the summer days with the windows rolled down, avoiding the headaches of endless storms, snow, and rain so common to the UK.
Of course, as great as summer can be, it has its challenges too. For several years now, the summers in the UK have been getting hotter, and 2022 is set to continue that trend. When you’re stuck behind a wheel for several hours per day, it’s easy for things to get a little too hot to handle.
To make sure you can stay safe during the warmer days of the year, you need to figure out some reliable ways of staying cool on the road. Fortunately, we’ve got some top tips to help.
Step 1: Make Sure the HGV is Prepared
Whether you’re driving in the snow or the sun, you need to ensure your HGV is prepared to handle the elements. The firm you work for should do a lot of the precautionary measures on your behalf, checking for the stability of tyres to avoid blow-outs, and looking for examples of brake fading. However, you can take some additional steps yourself.
Start by making sure the cooling system in your vehicle is working as it should be. The last thing you want is to be stranded on one of the hottest days of the year with absolutely no air conditioning. Once you’re sure that works properly, think about ways you can prepare your vehicle for extra comfort.
Keep an extra pair of sunglasses handy in case you need to tackle the headache of extra glare from the sun. Look into applying heat-proof coatings to the windscreen (provided your boss allows it) to help reduce some of the passive heat you absorb on the road. You can even grab a sunshade to keep your wheel and dashboard cool when you need to leave the HGV for a while.
Step 2: Commit to Regular Hydration
While you’re prepping your vehicle for hotter days, remember hydration is the key to staying not just cool on the road – but happy and healthy too. Dehydration is a serious issue for anyone spending long hours behind the wheel. It’s easy to forget you need to regularly top up with a drink of water when you’re focused on getting to your destination.
Even simple things like running the air conditioning or keeping the window open can start to dry you out over time. Since dehydration causes various symptoms, like nausea, fatigue, and dizziness, it can also make your road trips a lot more dangerous. With that in mind, make sure you take extra steps to keep yourself topped up with water.
Keep a cooler with bottles in the passenger seat of your HGV or consider freezing some bottles of water so you can drink extra-cold beverages through the day. Whenever you hit a bathroom during your journey, top up any empty bottles you have in your cabin. Be extra cautious in looking out for signs of dehydration too, like sickness.
Step 3: Change Up Your Uniform
As a professional HGV driver, you’ll probably have a specific dress code you need to think about when you’re behind the wheel. You need to ensure you’re dressing appropriately to represent the company you work for. However, many firms will also have special solutions in place to assist their drivers during the hotter and colder months of the year.
Ask your boss about your options when it comes to uniform. You might be able to avoid wearing any high-vis or waterproof jackets when you’re inside of the vehicle. Some companies will also permit their drivers to wear shorts during the summer months, provided that they ensure they are the right colour for the company and fit any professional dressing codes.
You can also look into any options for wearing extra accessories that might help you to stay cool. Many companies today are willing to distribute their own branded hats to help regulate the temperature from the top of your head. You can also grab a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and improve concentration.
Remember, looser clothes are often best to help with air circulation.
Step 4: Make the Most of Air
There are two options for getting a refreshing breeze into your HGV when you’re driving. The first is usually to just roll down the window. This is usually a more cost-effective option than turning up the air conditioning, provided you’re in a place where you’re not going to be exposed to a lot of pollution or distracting noise.
However, it’s worth remembering that rolling the windows down when you’re on the motorway can also damage the aerodynamics of your HGV, which could mean you end up using more fuel and energy. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding whether to roll down the window, or crank the AC.
If the AC seems like a better option, try to make sure you use the feature according to your management’s standards, and make sure the system is properly maintained. Consider dousing your hair and neck with a little water when you’re on your break if you really need your AC to wake you up when you get back on the road.
Step 5: Take Regular Breaks
Finally, as a dedicated HGV driver, it can be tempting to continue driving through your breaks to get to your destination faster. However, regularly taking time off from the road is important. You need to be able to stop, stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, and make sure you have the occasional bite to eat too. Don’t push yourself further than you can handle.
Forgetting to take breaks puts you in danger of fatigue and other issues which can influence your driving. This is a particularly significant problem during the summer, when the heat can break you down a lot faster than usual.
Use your breaks as an opportunity to get some fresh air, cool off, and enjoy the outdoors during the summer days in the UK. Your body will appreciate you for it later. Need help starting your HGV career? Contact our team today!