Knowing how to be a successful truck driver in the summer months requires understanding maintenance and driving patterns. The summer brings unique wear and tear to trucks. To maximize time on the road, instead of time pulled over on the side of the road, consider the seasonal maintenance trucks need. Summer also brings out new drivers celebrating the weather, so you may have to alter routes.
Keep reading to learn more about what you need to know to be a successful truck driver in the summer.
How To Be a Successful Truck Driver: Things You Need to Know
Summer Truck Maintenance
Check Your Engine Cooling System
Your engine cooling system is comprised of many parts –all of which need to be operating correctly in the summer. First, you must check your cooling ratio. This is the antifreeze-to-water ratio. Check your engine specs to determine what ratio you need. If the ratio is off, the engine cooling system will not operate properly and may even fail. Checking the condition of the coolant hoses is just as important as the concentration levels. Coolant hoses must work properly to deliver the liquid, so test them by pressing the hose ends and testing for flexibility. Coolant hoses should be firm but not spongy.
Ensure Your A/C Is Functioning Properly
Even though your truck will keep running, a broken A/C will keep you from driving your best. The A/C system works similarly to the engine cooling system. Check for hose and valve damage, listen to your blower motor as well. Any noise indicates replacement is necessary.
If your A/C continues to blow hot air, you may need to re-check your engine cooling system’s coolant levels.
Check Your Batteries for Corrosion
Truck batteries are likely to develop corrosion when heat indexes are high. Corrosion buildup leads to a lower voltage and will eventually stop battery function. A dead battery means you might end up on the side of the road, so be sure to examine the battery and cables for cracks and other damage.
Inspect Your Belts and Hoses
Exposure to heat can shift belts and hoses in your truck. First check the body of hoses and belts for cracks, built-up dirt, and leaks. Next, check hose and belt alignment by referring to your owners manual diagrams. Once in place, do a final check for proper tension.
If any hoses and belts have substantial damage, consider replacing them. This preventative maintenance step could save you time and money on a later haul.
Examine Your Tires
Everyone has smelled burning rubber. When the road temperature is hot during the summer, tires hold higher risk for breaking down. Examine your tires for tread depth and uneven wear. Signs of uneven wear indicate an alignment is necessary. If you are unsure of desired tread depth, consult your owners manual.
In all seasons, note your tire pressure. Depending on road conditions, you may need to deflate or inflate your tires.
Summer Traffic Trends
In the summer, many people roadtrip to vacation. For truckers, this means higher road congestion in the summer than in winter, spring, and fall. In general, weekends and holidays prove most busy, so avoid these times at all costs. Many of these travellers drive with more distractions. Whether tending to crying children, dealing with GPS malfunctions, or shuffling their playlists, distracted drivers are more populous during Summer congestion.
Also, the range of vehicles increases with more congestion. Passenger vehicles with trailers and motorcycles are more frequent as well as sportscars.
If you do find yourself on congested roads, the best tactic is patience. Most drivers will not give trucks the proper passing or following space, so double check your mirrors and wait when in doubt.
Oscillating Road Conditions
Depending on location, summer weather can be volatile. Though most truck drivers know how to handle adverse weather, some drivers may react to extreme thunderstorms and flash flooding. Pay attention to the weather forecast to avoid and prepare for shifting weather.
In certain areas of the United States, summer brings Hurricane and Tornado seasons. Be sure to set emergency notifications and follow emergency guidelines in these weather conditions. Paying attention to news that impacts road conditions is vital to knowing how to be a successful truck driver.
Because of the heat and plentiful sunshine, summer drivers are more prone to fatigue. Be sure to pack your sunglasses and be aware that some may not. Road glare occurs for longer hours in the summer, meaning drivers may have reduced visibility and increased driver fatigue.
In the winter, ground soil freezes making road construction harder. The summer, however, allows for most types of construction. You are likely to encounter more road construction projects in the summer. These conditions are dangerous for truck drivers and construction workers themselves. Be sure to take increased construction into account when driving in the summer.
New Drivers on the Road
Since most young drivers are out of school, the road yields a higher percentage of inexperienced drivers in the summer. Inexperienced drivers often make more rare driving mistakes. These mistakes include misreading signs, not following roadlines, and not abiding by the speed limit by going too slow or too fast. Be on the lookout for these inexperienced driver mistakes in the summer.
How to Be A Successful Truck Driver: Enroll With TDI
Need a refresher on the seasonal demands of truck driving? Enroll at Truck Driver Institute (TDI). At TDI, we offer the chance for a successful career in the trucking industry with our affordable hands-on commercial driver’s license (CDL) training led by experienced drivers.
With our 11 campuses located in seven states, TDI is conveniently available for anyone 18 years or older to receive their CDL in just three weeks. Our team of experts at TDI work closely with more than 20 major carriers who recruit TDI graduates for their companies and offer competitive compensation and great benefits. Additionally, TDI offers grants and scholarships, meaning the up-front cost of tuition can be as little as $225.
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