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Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Summer is here, and so is the heat. As a professional driver, knowing how to keep cool during the summer months is extremely important for your health and safety.

Although the majority of commercial vehicles today are equipped with air conditioning, any time spent outside the comforts of "AC" puts drivers at greater risk of heat-related illnesses, including dehydration and heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, as well as fatigue.

While it is difficult to predict just who will be affected by heat-related illnesses, some individuals are at greater risk, such as those who are overweight, small in stature, in poor physical condition, or eat poorly. Adults aged 65 and over, persons with chronic health problems and anyone taking medications that limit sweating are also more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

You can help keep calm while driving by taking these precautions:

  • Get plenty of restful sleep to help combat fatigue.

  • Maintain a healthy exercise regimen. The better shape you're in, the less likely you are to experience heat-related issues.

  • Dress in light-colored, breathable, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes so your skin can cool through evaporation. A hat is also a great tool to help keep cool and shield your eyes from the sun.

  • It is advised to use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above. The left side of your body—the one exposed to the sun while driving—is especially vulnerable to harmful UV rays.

  • Keep a close eye on weather updates, specifically focusing on the heat index, which represents how the combination of humidity and air temperature makes the temperature feel to the human body.

  • Leave early in the day when temperatures are coolest, whenever possible. Access the latest traffic information to reduce travel time and limit delays.

  • Use polarized sunglasses with high UV protection to properly safeguard your eyes.

  • Eat small, light meals. Step up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Not only do they replenish nutrients, but fruits and vegetables contain high water concentrations and help you keep cool. Avoid hot, heavy meals and large amounts of sugar that can aggravate the effects of heat.

  • Stay hydrated. In addition to water, drink hydration beverages (i.e., Gatorade, Powerade) to keep cool and replenish critical electrolytes lost through sweating. Avoid caffeinated drinks or alcohol that actually deplete the body of fluids. Also, stay away from very cold drinks as they can cause stomach cramps.

  • Limit your time in the heat. Take frequent breaks in air-conditioned places to allow your body to recharge and rest.

  • If your seat is vinyl or leather, cover it to minimize heat buildup. Also, cover the steering wheel with a towel or cloth whenever you leave the vehicle to prevent burning your hands when you reenter the vehicle.

  • Check with your doctor to see if heat affects any medical conditions you have or medications you are taking.

  • Stay vigilant and attentive to the symptoms indicating heat-related illnesses and know the appropriate treatment measures. If you experience any symptoms, pull off the road to a safe location immediately, take the steps necessary to help your body regulate its temperature before resuming your trip, or contact Coastal Trucking Insurance LLC.

Importantly, be sure to check your vehicle's air conditioning system regularly and have it serviced if necessary. The last thing you want is to be driving in the summertime heat and discover that your AC is not working properly.

The scorching summer heat can have a detrimental impact on your health when you're behind the wheel. However, by adding these tips and techniques to your arsenal, you can help keep cool and make your trips comfortable and safe all season.

Article provided by Lancer Insurance co.


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