During the summer, the sun shines down and outdoor temperatures rise. In addition, traffic and construction on highways and interstates often increase. You should learn how to manage these and other summer hazards of truck driving to stay safe while on the road and help keep others on the road safe as well.
Read on to learn about four summer truck driving hazards and how you can manage them.
1. Excessive Sun Exposure
Many truck drivers believe the misconception that truck windows block most of the sun’s harmful UV rays. However, the truth is that while most windshields do block about 96 percent of the sun’s UV rays, side windows only block about 44 percent of them. For this reason, truck drivers need to protect their skin from the sun’s cancer-causing rays even when they are inside of their truck cabs.
The easiest way to protect your skin from the sun when inside of your cab is to cover your skin with sunscreen that has an SPF of between 15 and 50 before beginning your shift on the road. Then, reapply this sun protection every two hours when you have a break in your driving.
Since the left side of your body is closer to your cab side windows than your right side when in the driver’s seat of a truck, take extra care when applying sunscreen to the left side of your face and body. An estimated 75 percent of all melanoma skin cancer cases begin with a lesion detected on the left side of the body, which may be due to the extra UV ray exposure this side of the body obtains while driving.
2. Sun Glare
Another hazard of summertime driving is sun glare. While this problem can occur anytime during the day when the sun is shining, it is often the worst just after sunrise and before sunset. This glare can make it difficult to see the road, road signs, and any road obstructions present properly.
Positioning your truck’s sun visors to block the sun’s direct light and wearing a good pair of polarized sunglasses can help reduce the vision obstruction often caused by glare.
However, you should also keep your windshield extremely clean and crack-free to aid in driving when the sun is shining directly at your windshield; windshield cracks and debris can further scatter sunlight, which worsens the toll sun glare takes on your vision. Also, remove all items that reflect light from your dashboard when experiencing sun glare because the light that bounces off of them can further obstruct your vision.
3. Motorcycles on the Road
As the outdoor weather warms up, more people begin taking their motorcycles out on the roads. The number of registered motorcycles and motorcyclists has increased dramatically in recent years, which makes it more important than ever to learn how to drive safely when near these vehicles.
First, never follow too closely behind a motorcycle. You should leave about twice as much distance between this vehicle type and your truck as you would between your truck and a car. Motorcycles can stop much more quickly than cars can, and their brake lights are typically not as visible as the brake lights of a car. Both factors make it much easier to accidentally collide with a motorcycle when following too close behind them.
Also, check your blind spots on a regular basis when driving during the summer to check for motorcycles, especially when approaching lane changes and turns. These small vehicles can disappear into blind spots much more easily than cars can.
Finally, be aware that a large number of fatal auto accidents involving motorcycles occur when a car or truck driver is turning left as a motorcycle is attempting to drive straight. Be extra cautious when making left turns to help prevent this type of collision.
4. Road Construction
The summer is prime time for road construction, and driving through these work zones comes with many potential hazards. In fact, according to the Federal Highway Administration, a construction work zone accident involving a large truck occurs about once every three days in the United States. In addition, about 49 percent of fatal construction zone accidents on rural interstates occur when a truck driver collides with an object or person in the work zone.
To minimize the chance of being involved in a work zone accident this summer, always obey work limit speed signs and pay close attention to the road while driving through these zones to identify road obstructions before you hit them. In addition, when a lane change is required in approaching a work zone, merge slowly and carefully while paying close attention to your blind spots during the merge.
Finally, continue to keep the proper distance between your truck and the vehicle ahead of you when in the work zone, as many drivers naturally forget to do when driving through these construction areas.
Keep these potential summertime hazards of truck driving and the steps you can take to manage them in mind as the weather warms up to stay safer while on the road all season long. Contact the truck experts at Arrow Truck Sales for all of your quality used truck needs today.