With the arrival of summer, trucking operations staff should refresh their knowledge of seasonal hazards that come with this time of year and remind their drivers as well. Great West Casualty Company offers a great list of common summer travel hazards:
Distractions. Distractions inside and outside the cab reduce a driver’s ability to perceive hazards and react properly. Talking or texting on the phone while driving – including calls initiated by the company – is not unique to summer, but is a hazard that deserves to be reiterated to all drivers throughout the year. Sun glare can be a distraction, so encourage drivers to wear polarized sunglasses and avoid driving in peak periods when sun glare is at its worst. Likewise, high temperatures increase the risk of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Headaches, dizziness, and heat exhaustion can distract a driver and divert his or her attention away from the task of driving. Remind drivers to stay hydrated and wear clothing that provides UV protection and is lightweight to stay cool.
Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and Motorcyclists. Summer is the time for vacations and outdoor activities. Truck drivers will experience increased traffic from pedestrians and bicyclists. Whether driving in an urban setting or out on a country road, walkers, joggers, and bicyclists will be out in full. Remind drivers to share the road and be attentive to their surroundings. If drivers are in unfamiliar territory, coach them to avoid distractions so their attention remains focused on the road ahead. Also, coach them to make only quick glances to GPS devices and mirrors.
Weather. Adverse weather conditions are common summertime hazards depending on the area of the country. Operations staff can help driver by monitoring forecasts and routing drivers away from storm areas. Also, if a driver deems it too unsafe to drive, respect that decision and encourage him or her to pull over in a safe place to wait out the storm.
Road Construction. Summer is also known as orange barrel and cone season. Road construction is inevitable, but the driver’s stress can be relieved with the help of a thoughtful dispatcher. Routing a driver away from construction zones, especially during rush hour, can alleviate the stress that could lead to anxiety, aggressive driving, and road rage. Likewise, when unexpected traffic delays occur, the dispatcher can ease the driver’s mind by calling the consignee to inform him or her of the situation. Do not make a difficult situation worse by compounding the problem.
Traffic Congestion. Traffic congestion will increase with more vacationers, farmers, and motorcyclists out on the road. Remind drivers to use their mirrors wisely and manage the space around the truck. Stay in one lane as much as possible and avoid sudden lane changes. Also, slow down in heavier traffic and maintain a proper following distance.