From top to bottom and front to back, truck drivers need to be mindful of many things during the summer months.
Keeping the windshield bug-free is the most in-your-face (literally) recommendation. As small or minor as the residue might be, it can be an obstruction of your line of sight. And if you can’t see out of every part of your windshield, that could be asking for trouble on straightaways or turns on the highway. Many jurisdictions have laws against anything obscuring your view – ensure all devices are mounted outside of the sweep of the wipers.
Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition not only for bug wiping but also rain swiping. In a heavy downpour, those raindrops can be just as big – and obstructing – as a splattered flying insect. You should have a full washer tank when heading out for a drive.
Keeping with sightlines, remember to watch out for tourists. We are not just talking about pedestrians but also when approaching or driving through tourist attractions. Leisure travellers might not know where they are going and suddenly stop, or they could be driving slowly so someone in the car can snap scenic photos. Drivers should always be cautious about tourists making unexpected stops or slowing down.
In addition to tourists, be on the lookout for locals in the area – and we are talking about the four-legged wildlife kind. With the summer sun rising much earlier in the morning and lasting well into the night, many animals are awake and active longer than they might be in the winter months.
This is also the time of year that construction zones can appear and either change the flow of traffic or cause it to detour altogether. Remember the common courtesy – and laws – when passing through a construction zone. Reduce your speed and allow generous clearance when passing equipment and the flag people giving instructions to motorists. Like our drivers, everyone wants to get home safely at the end of the day. Construction workers are no different and deserve our respect when on duty.
Note that nowadays flag persons, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. often are wearing earbuds – sometimes it might be useful to use your horn to ensure they are aware of your presence.
Crews might be doing drivers a favour when it comes to fixing potholes. Every spring potholes appear when the snow melts and often they fill up when rain falls. Puddles can hide them, making potholes a real danger. When you can see them, potholes are usually easy to avoid. But when you think you are just driving over a puddle of water without realizing a deep drop is underneath, it could be damaging to the vehicle.
While we are focused on the bottom area of the truck, remember that heat plays a big part in tire pressure. There can be a 10-lb. difference just because it is hot. Bison Transport policy is 125 psi in steer tires and 100 psi in all others.
Summer might seem like a season for carefree driving but safety should always be a priority to ensure we all enjoy many more rides into the sunset.