As any truck driver will tell you, summer months are some of the hardest to be driving on open roads. There is increased traffic, which increases risks of possible accidents, and constant exposure to high heat and humidity that seems impossible to get away from.
To keep truck drivers conscious of the ravages of being exposed for several hours, or even several days, to the worst of the hot weather, we’re listing 8 safety precautions every driver should be taking at this time:
75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated. At any time of year, the majority of us drink 2.5 cups a day instead of the recommended 8-10 cups. And during summer, if you’re losing more fluids through sweat than you are drinking, you can suffer from mild to moderate dehydration without even knowing it.
Remember these facts:
Every time you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that you’re already mildly dehydrated. And severe dehydration can catch you off-guard and set in within an hour. (As little as 1.5% of water loss can lead to dehydration.)
- It is recommended that you remember to drink water even if you’re not feeling thirsty.
- If you’re in the habit of drinking a lot of coffee or tea while you’re on the road, balance this intake with sufficient quantities of water, as these beverages act like diuretics and rob you of your internal reserve of fluids. Same goes for alcohol.
- If you like to power up with `healthy’ beverages, like sports drinks, remember that they contain a lot of sugar that can actually encourage dehydration. Even the electrolyte content is a bit of an illusion because, when contained in liquids, the body metabolizes electrolytes at too fast a pace to gain significant benefits from them.
- The food you eat contributes 20% of your daily fluid intake, so eat lots of seasonal produce like melons, strawberries, tomatoes, plums, peaches etc. that are rich in the right kind of electrolytes, carbohydrates and minerals.
It isn’t just a `trucker’s arm’ that you’re risking when driving long haul under the summer sun. The left side of your face is exposed to harmful UV rays from the harsh sunlight as well.
Unilateral dermatoheliosis (which causes the left side of the face to wrinkle and age faster than the right side due to extensive exposure to ultraviolet A) can be an unfortunate consequence. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology also warns that more cases of skin cancer occur on the left side of the arm and face rather than the right side.
Taking these consequences into account, protecting yourself from the summer sun is a priority when you are on the job.
- The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that truckers use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), making sure they reapply the cream every two hours.
- Placing a light-colored blanket on leather truck seats can help keep them cool.
- Placing a bag of ice cubes (tied in a handkerchief or rolled inside a towel) on the back of the neck while driving during 10 am- 4 pm, the hottest hours of the day, can bring down body temperature.
- Wearing a sun sleeve can reduce the risk of trucker’s arm, because they increase protection to about 50+ UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), compared to 10-15 UPF that a summer shirt can offer.