Summer is in sight! Professional drivers face particular challenges in warm weather conditions. Those who drive a commercial vehicle must therefore not only take good care of themselves. Tyres are also at risk of damage on hot days.
“Time and again, road users underestimate the potential danger in extreme weather conditions. We know from experience that heat, road works, traffic jams and delivery pressure are a combustible mixture that often pushes people and material to their limits,” says Jarno Bor, Managing Director at 24/7 ASSISTANCE.
Before starting to drive, it is therefore particularly important to check the tyre pressure regularly. When the thermometer climbs significantly above 30 degrees Celsius across Europe for a longer period of time, the asphalt temperature can rise up to 60 degrees. This makes the tyres softer. If the air pressure is not correct, they wear out faster, overheat and can even catch fire. Heat rule number one is therefore: Check the inflation pressure on the cold tyres and spare wheels every fortnight at the latest and look out for damage.
If a tyre bursts while driving, this can be recognised by a loud, explosive bang, flinging parts and a noticeable smoke development. To avoid an accident in such a situation, brake as quickly as possible, but in a controlled manner and pull over to the side of the road. Full braking should be avoided in all circumstances.
Another danger of prolonged hot spells are blow-ups. They occur within a very short time when the heat causes the road surface to crack and the asphalt to bulge. Blow-ups can be fatal if the sudden unevenness of the road causes a driver to jerk the steering wheel in fright and drift into the adjacent lane or into oncoming traffic. The danger is particularly great on motorways that consist mainly of concrete slabs. For this reason, the following applies: drive with foresight, keep a sufficient distance and listen to the traffic radio on the radio. There are regular warnings about blow-ups.
How truck drivers keep a cool head
Even without special incidents such as a flat tyre, it is important for truck drivers to keep a cool head even in stressful situations on hot days. Among other things, it is helpful to set the air conditioning correctly. If the driver’s cab is cooled too much, there is a risk of circulatory problems over the long run. For this reason, the air conditioning should never be set lower than six degrees below the outside temperature.
In order to manage a longer journey even on warm days, it is important for all drivers to get enough and good sleep before their trip. Heat and poor sleep impair concentration and increase the risk of accidents. If it is difficult to fall asleep, a daily sleep routine such as going for a walk will help. The body switches more easily into sleep mode through the habituation effect.
When it comes to eating and drinking, the following applies: Too heavy, fatty and rich meals make you tired. Light meals with lots of fruit, salad or raw vegetables, smaller portions and sufficient fluids are ideal in hot weather.
Caution is advised with headaches, dizziness, light-headedness or nausea. In these cases, stop immediately, get into the shade, drink fluids and, in an emergency, call a doctor. On the motorway, the emergency call boxes offer quick help.
Should a breakdown occur despite all precautions, the 24/7 ASSISTANCE emergency hotline can be reached throughout Europe around the clock at +43 505 0247365. In addition to the tyre size and position, it is important to indicate any consequential damage to the electrics, shock absorbers, rims or air bellows in order to ensure rapid breakdown assistance.