Driving your HGV in the Summer– How to keep cool


As temperatures rise in the UK, it is a sign for the onset of summer.  For many, the summer heat is a welcome change from the rainy spring and cold winter usually experienced.  However, for HGV drivers, the change in weather and rise in temperature can make for some very uncomfortable working conditions.

Long-distance driving requires patience, resilience, and some level of comfort.  For HGV drivers undertaking longer journeys, it can be difficult to manage the heat.  HGV drivers who drive long distances face the risk of dehydration, fatigue, and sunburn.

HGVs by their very nature are large vehicles with large engines.  This means that the temperatures within the vehicle can be higher than they are for smaller vehicles on the road. 

In addition to this, better weather and school holidays often mean there are more vehicles on the road, so it is even more important to be vigilant and keep safety at the forefront of your mind.

Let’s have a look at some of the ways HGV drivers can stay cool whilst driving.

HYDRATE

It seems obvious, but one of the main ways to stay cool whilst driving is to ensure you drink plenty of water.  When driving an HGV, the engine and prolonged sunlight can heat up the vehicle, so it can feel like you are sitting in a moving oven.  When the temperature within the vehicle rises, your body will start to sweat, and you can lose vital fluids.

Keeping a bottle of water in the vehicle means you can hydrate yourself regularly and replace lost fluids.  Always keep a plentiful supply of water in your HGV.  This will enable you to keep cool and prevent dehydration which can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and lower concentration levels. 

A useful tip is to freeze bottles of water for your journey and keep them in a cool box.  This way the frozen bottles can also help keep the contents of your cool box nice and cold while also remaining cold until you are ready for a drink.

SUNTAN LOTION

The summer sunshine brings increased UV rays with it.  This means that you are at an increased risk of sunburn, which can often be concentrated on the upper body and face. 

Always ensure that you wear adequate sun protection to protect yourself from harmful rays and re-apply the sun cream every few hours.

CLOTHING

Many HGV drivers will have a dress code they have to adhere to.  However, most haulage firms will relax the rules depending on the weather conditions.  Check to see if you are permitted to wear short sleeve tops and shorts in the hotter months. 

Loose clothes will facilitate the air to circulate and keep you cool.  Also, avoid heavy layering and wear clothing that is light and airy.

GLARE PROTECTION

The summer sun can be strong requiring extra caution when driving as it can impair your vision.  This not only applies to the midday sun but can be especially important when you are driving towards the sun at any time of the day.

In the interests of safety (yours and other road users), you should ensure that you have a pair of sunglasses to hand that will protect you.  If you wear glasses, then make sure your sunglasses are prescription lenses and suitable for driving. Your optician can also discuss the range of tints permitted for prescription lenses to offer the best protection for driving. Sunglasses will help you keep your vision free from glare and minimise the risk of accidents.

MINIMISE VEHICLE MALFUNCTION

One of the most important things to do when driving in warm temperatures is to ensure that the vehicle has been checked and maintained

The HGV needs to be able to function properly whatever the weather, and there are certain additional checks you should do to make sure everything is running well:

  • Check the cooling element to make sure it is not over-heating, and the coolant is sufficiently topped up
  • Check the fan is working before setting off on your journey
  • Check the brakes are working properly and the brake fluid is topped up
  • The risk of tyres blowing out can increase in the heat so always ensure that the tyres are inflated properly and look to be in good order before you start your journey

AIR CONDITIONING

Providing your HGV is fitted with air conditioning, you should use it whenever you feel the temperature is too hot. 

Of course, you can always roll down the window to circulate the air in the vehicle, but this is not always possible, especially if you are driving at speed down a motorway. 

Using the air conditioning will not only cool down the inside of the HGV but will also help you stay cool.

PLAN AHEAD

Quite often, the summer months can see an increase in roadworks being undertaken.  Plan your journey well and look out for roadworks that could lead to increased time in the HGV. 

USE BREAKS WISELY

HGV driving can be tiring and that is why the government has outlined the rules and regulations relating to the breaks that must be taken.  Use your breaks wisely and when it is hot it is even more important that you do not skip breaks.  You should use your breaks to get some fresh air, hydrate yourself, and stretch your legs. 

 

HGV Insurance

Heavy goods vehicles need comprehensive insurance to ensure the vehicle is protected alongside the driver and the goods carried by the vehicle. Depending on the business you work for, you may need a non-standard and bespoke insurance policy.

For any changes to your business and its operations, please contact ISIS Insurance today and our expert advisers will be on hand to advise you further.

ISIS Insurance offers a wide variety of insurance options and quotes that cover everything a HGV might need when it comes to insurance, from skip lorries to refrigerated vehicles.