Summer may have officially started on June 21, but for over-the-road trucking, the heat started early. More than 3.5 million professional truck drivers will be out on the roads this holiday week and they will be there to ensure the nation’s summer needs are met. Over-the-road trucking is responsible for delivering the food on the grill, the floats in the pool, and the umbrellas on the beach. Truckers are also delivering critical medical supplies, building and garden supplies, and, of course, the fuel that many Americans need for their own summer holiday trips.
The trucking industry is supported by 7.7 million professionals and delivers to 80% of America’s communities. Clearly, summer for truckers means more than time spent at the beach or by the pool, but the precautions about staying cool are just as important for people who spend their days in a truck cab.
Temperatures inside the cab of an OTR trucker can rise quickly in the summer. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University, the temperature inside an enclosed vehicle can rise 29 degrees in just 20 minutes, and 43 degrees in 60 minutes.
7 Over-the-Road Trucking Tips for Staying Cool This Summer
1. Use Protection Against the Sun – Just because you are in a truck does not mean you are protected from the sun. While the rays of sun shining through the driver’s side window can feel great, there are serious risks associated with this, including sunburns and skin cancer. The left side of your body takes the biggest hit from the sun. Even when you are inside your cabin, wear sunscreen. Hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeve shirts can also help protect you.
2. Stay Hydrated – Even in an air-conditioned truck you can still get dehydrated. Make sure to have a bottle of water with you at all times so you can stay hydrated, and an extra bottle of water available in case something happens. Aim to drink about eight glasses of water, or 64 ounces, every day.
3. Watch Out for Extra Drivers – In the summer months, more people are out driving long distances than in any other season. This holiday weekend, millions of Americans are expected to hit the road. These drivers will be on routes they are unfamiliar with, which can often lead to erratic and dangerous driving. For OTR truck drivers, this means the roads are that much more hectic. To lessen your chances of an accident, stay alert and be aware of what’s happening around you at all times.
4. Use Caution in Work Zones – More roadwork is done in the summer months than at any other time of year. It’s always important to drive carefully in a work zone because of the danger of hitting a worker. In addition, fines for speeding and other violations are often doubled or tripled in a work zone.
5. Keep Tires Properly Inflated – Tire blowouts aren’t uncommon in extreme heat. Under-inflated tires can increase your risk of a blowout. Be sure your tires are properly inflated before heading out on a delivery run.
6. Check the Brakes – Summer’s hot temperatures can lead to brake fading, the loss of friction when brake components can’t absorb any additional heat. Check your brakes often to make sure they are functioning properly.
7. Be Aware of the Weather – Along with extreme heat, summer can bring severe weather such as storms and floods. In addition, the weather can change very quickly. Make sure to be aware of the weather up ahead and what could be coming to the area. This way you are never caught off guard and can change your route if needed.
Staying cool physically can be fairly easy to manage if you are in the OTR driver’s seat, but the back office is heating up too. While the factors are different, the back office is responsible for keeping business operations cool and streamlined—and at the heart of any trucking industry is payment.
OTR trucking companies have consistently relied on partners like EFS/WEX to help in simplifying the payment process for both employees and vendors with the most efficient solutions for sustaining and even growing the company. The robust electronic payment solutions that EFS/WEX offers will help keep the company on track during the hot summer months by cutting costs, mitigating risk, and generating revenue. WEX electronic payment solutions further help to optimize and simplify your financial supply chain—delivering a seamless customized approach to the procure-to-pay process that keeps vendors and clients confident.
Regardless of the size or complexity of your business, EFS will help to reduce manual processes and enhance control and visibility over supplier payments with the following strategies:
- Replace paper-based payments and remittances with seamless electronic transactions
- Increase customization and control to better manage the timing, recipient, and amount of each payment
- Improve margins
- Enhance data capture to reduce the burden of manual reconciliation
- Support core business strategies with our industry expertise and knowledge of best practices
OTR Fuel Cards Can Also Aid in Keeping Operations Cool and Steady
WEX over-the-road (OTR) fuel cards help freight carriers improve efficiency, cut costs, and get paid fast. Over-the-road fleets gain greater transparency and visibility into purchasing and volume performance with our powerful analytics tools and mobile apps—all while improving cash flow. WEX OTR fuel cards allow you to:
- Gain deep industry expertise to simplify OTR expenses
- Better control purchasing with powerful data analytics
- Fill fleet tanks at thousands of truck-stop locations across North America
So, while summer is heating up and we head to the cool of the mountains or the seashore, OTR trucking will be hitting the road with a mission to deliver all the necessities to make summer safe and successful.