According to US Special Delivery, “There are over 500,000 trucking companies in the United States with over 15 1/2 million trucks on the road with 2,000,000 being tractor trailers.” With this many semi-trucks out on the streets, it’s only natural that their drivers need to take special care when traveling. This is especially the case during the summer months. While summer means fun quick trips for standard drivers, those who drive professionally need to take extra precautions in preparing their semi-trucks for the summer.
Once the snow melts and more truckers take to the streets, it’s crucial to properly maintain every semi in a fleet. Though the truck’s current setting might have worked fine for the winter months, summer brings a new set of measurements and calibrations to account for. Making sure that each component is set and fixed properly is the first step in ensuring a successful business season. These are some of the essential components to check during your preparations:
During the winter, the colder temperatures tend to compress the air within our tires. This gives off the appearance that the pressure is too low. When seeing this, drivers instinctually put more air in their tires to account for the compression. However, once the weather warms up, the air decompresses and can cause your tire pressure to be too high. As such, you need to ensure that your truck’s tires are at the proper psi to drive before you take to the roads this summer.
Since running into problems when starting your car decreases when the weather is warm, many forget that they still need to check their batteries. Similar to the cold, heat can be just as hard on a battery’s charge. Ultimately, excessive exposure to heat can cause a battery to fail. It’s for this reason that you should consistently check the battery’s charge. Making sure that it’s fully charged and connected properly now could save you a few unnecessary stops later.
A/C units don’t get much use during the winter, but they’re a crucial component to your comfort during those long hours on the heated asphalt. After charging your system, run the air conditioning and check for any leaks or cracks in the connected tubing. Getting any faulty parts replaced before regular use can greatly improve your driving experience this summer.
Coolant and Coolant Hoses
Similar to how you like to keep cool, preparing your semi-trucks for the summer means that you need to ensure they stay cool as well. Inspect the coolant levels and the system’s hoses for damage. This is crucial as your vehicle will be prone to overheat if the coolant isn’t properly circulating through the engine. If you find any damage, replace the broken parts before you take to the streets.
While truck drivers have a series of things to do in preparing for a long haul, it’s crucial that you don’t forget your emergency planning. No matter how experienced you are, unexpected things can happen when you’re driving for extended periods of time. Before you leave, be sure you pack these essentials:
Make an Emergency Kit
Since there’s no telling what could happen when you’re away from your familiar stomping grounds, it’s crucial that you’re prepared for a variety of situations. Whether you face a mechanical failure or less than ideal driving conditions, having an emergency kit prepared can help you get back on the road or at least get you by as you wait for assistance. Some necessary items to include in this kit are:
- Several days of food and water
- Extra clothes
- Cellphone and charger
- Toolbox with tools of varying sizes
- Swiss army knife
Pack a Medical Kit
Along with this emergency kit, you should also pack a medical kit in case you sustain any injuries. These kits, while small, can potentially save your life if you use its contents properly. Aside from bandages and adhesives, be sure to include anti-bacterial ointments and pain killers in the event that you need to wait for help.
In your preparation, it’s also important to think about what weather you could face on your trip and pack accordingly. Though it’s easy to assume that it will be warm weather throughout the haul, even summer weather can be uncharacteristically cold or rainy. Prepare for these times and pack extra sets of clothes as well as tarps to protect the truck’s contents in the event that it has an exposed trailer.
Summer Driving Tips
Though you should be using safe driving practices year-round, there are a few extra things you should be on the lookout for in the summer. Utilize these basic tips for summer driving:
Use Sun Protection
Though you’ll be in the cab of the truck for most of your trip, you’re bound to expose some parts of your body to the sun. To prevent a serious burn, be sure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen before you begin driving. Depending on the SPF you use, you should also be prepared to pull over every few hours to reapply.
Though this is crucial during any time of year, it’s easier to become dehydrated in the summer months. Prolonged exposure to the heat can quickly evaporate the water from your body. If you aren’t regularly replenishing these missing fluids, you could easily get sick, making it impossible for you to drive safely. Keep a water bottle near your seat for convenient access as you drive and be sure to remind yourself to hydrate.
Align Your Seat and Mirrors Properly
Before you set off, make sure your seat and mirrors are in the proper place. Though it’s unlikely that they’ve changed settings since your last drive, you should always check them briefly to ensure you can see all that you need to.
Be Aware of Work Zones
With the beginning of summer comes an increase in construction across the United States’ highways. These zones require you to reduce speed and change your driving pattern to match a designated path. Because of this, truck drivers need to remain vigilant of these construction zones and adjust their driving accordingly.
Adjust to More Drivers
Since many more individuals are out on the roads during the summer, you’ll also need to be aware of the additional drivers around your vehicle. Be sure to check your mirrors more often to keep smaller cars from sneaking up on you and pay extra attention when you go to turn or change lanes.
As you go about your summer maintenance, turn to Unitruck for your replacement mirror and lighting needs. Whether it’s Kenworth T270 or Volvo 670 truck accessories, we have what you need to stay safe on the roads this summer.