Staying Cool on Long Journeys This Summer
I don't know if you noticed, but summer is well and truly upon us. We've already had some of the hottest days of the year and even the thunderstorms and rain showers are hot and muggy. Staying safe while on the road is one of the biggest concerns of any HGV driver, especially when they have a long haul journey ahead of them. Staying cool in the summer months is just as essential as making sure you don't skid along the road in ice, or being able to see in the heavy rain. It's a factor that can affect your judgement, your ability to concentrate on the road and, sometimes, even your ability to stay awake. So how can you stay cool on your long haul journeys this summer?
Drink More Than You Usually Would
During the hotter months, our core body temperatures shoot up with the outside weather, resulting in much more sweat. Sweat is our body's natural way of staying cool, but it does drain moisture from us at the same time, so you need to stay topped up. Think of your body like an air conditioning unit - when it's not hot and you don't need to run it, it's just ticking over. But when it gets hot and you turn it on, it needs fuel to keep going and coolant to keep working properly. Drinking water it like filling up the coolant tank - it's what makes you able to sweat and bring your temperature down. Plus it lowers the risk of getting heat stroke and keeps you refreshed throughout the drive.
Keep Your Arms Inside The Cab
To clarify - we don't mean keep your windows rolled up (though if you're running air conditioning, that will make it more efficient. Instead, we just mean avoid leaning your arm on the open window, with some of it hanging over the edge. This will result in what some affectionately call 'trucker arm', where your arm is red and burnt in that particular area. While this might not sound too bad (who hasn't had a minor sunburn in their life?) it will make it more difficult for you to stay cool. This is because when your skin gets burnt, it retains heat, which is why it feels warm to touch for days afterwards. So retaining this little extra bit of heat will start to raise your core body temperature even more than the hot weather is, resulting in a hot, sweaty driver who can't get cool.
Know Your Cooling Points
When it's hot and you're on a rest break, you want to be able to take advantage of that time and cool yourself down before you hit the road again. Here, it's good to know the key 'cooling points' on your body so that you can focus on those. For most people, these are on the wrists, back of the neck, back of the knees and feet. These are the spots that react fastest to cold temperatures and are located in the right places to transport the cooled blood around your body in seconds. To activate these cooling points, take some ice or even a cold bottle of drink and press it to these areas. After a minute, you will start to feel cooler and more refreshed.
Of course, because keeping cool in summer is so important, many drivers will work out their own ways to handle the heat. Some will invent their own DIY air conditioning units, drink iced water or drive shirtless. None of these are wrong because they achieve the goal of staying cool, so whatever works for you, embrace it! If you have any tips to share with our drivers and trainees about staying cool in the summer, we'd love to hear about them. Just get in touch with us today.