Although summer doesn’t officially start until mid-June, the weather says otherwise. It definitely feels like summer out there, what with the high temperatures, humidity, and sunlight. You might be a fan of the warm weather or you might prefer the indoors, but either way, it’s important to be prepared for the dangers you’ll face as a tow truck driver during the summer. There are a bunch of new risks to contend with. So, how can you stay safe?
Here are our top ten summer tow truck safety tips.
1. Be careful around construction and roadwork zones.
A lot of construction and roadwork happens in the summer. That means traffic, closed lanes, detours, and potential delays. You need to be extra careful as you drive through roadwork zones. Slow down and be on the lookout for construction workers – the side of the road is their workplace, the same as it’s yours. Take it easy and obey any posted signs. Remember, fines for speeding and traffic violations are often raised in construction zones.
2. Get ready for traffic.
Summer can also mean heavy traffic. Not only is there roadwork to contend with, but summer can be busy because people go on vacation and road trips. Teenagers are out of school and on the roads.
Take extra care when you drive in traffic to prevent rear-end collisions. Leave plenty of following distance between your tow truck and the car in front of you. Don’t speed. Try to check on traffic before you hit the road to get to your next job and see if there’s a better route. Drive defensively – scan for danger and take action to safely avoid it.
3. Maintain your tow truck or wrecker.
Since summer can bring some intense temperatures, it’s a good idea to take your tow truck to the shop and get it checked over by a trustworthy mechanic. Get the mechanic to check the cooling system, the engine coolant, the belts and hoses, the electrical system, the brakes, and the battery. You need to get your vehicle ready to handle the heat. The heat does funny things to tow trucks and cars alike. Don’t forget the importance of preventive maintenance.
4. Wear sunscreen.
As a tow truck driver, you’re working outside a lot. It’s really important to protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and reapplying it throughout the day. Getting too much sun can cause sunburns, and it can also cause skin cancer. Sunscreen might seem unnecessary, but everyone needs to wear it if they’re going to be outside for extended periods of time.
5. Drink lots of water.
Staying hydrated is super essential during the summer. It’s really easy to get dehydrated in the summer heat. Bring plenty of water with you. You should be drinking about eight glasses a day. Even if you don’t feel very thirsty, it’s a good idea to keep taking sips of water throughout the day.
It’s also a good idea to know the signs of heat-related illness, which occurs when the body is having trouble cooling itself down. Headaches, muscle cramps, and light-headedness can be symptoms of heat-related illness. The most severe form of heat illness is heatstroke; heatstroke happens when the body gives up and stops trying to cool itself down.
Anyways, if you’re starting to feel ill from the heat, take it easy and go somewhere cool where you can rest. Seek medical attention if needed.
6. Remember your sunglasses.
Protecting your eyes from sunlight is a must. Sunglasses can protect your eyes, it’s true, but they also reduce reflection and glare from the road that can make it hard to see. Rather than squinting and shielding your face with a hand, get a pair of UV-ray blocking sunglasses and wear them.
7. Check your tire pressure.
When you drive, you’re creating heat. With the temperatures outside being so high, this can actually weaken the rubber on your tires and cause a blowout. It’s important to make sure your tires have a safe tire pressure and that they’re properly inflated. You need to keep an eye on your tire pressure any time there are extreme temperatures.
8. Keep an eye on the weather.
Summer brings some crazy weather. Storms, floods, thunder and lightning, tornadoes, you name it. Check the weather forecast and pay attention to any severe weather alerts on TV or on the radio. Obey any emergency warnings, and keep in mind that weather conditions can change fast. That means that even if it looks fine now, it might not be very quickly. Don’t take any chances – if it’s not safe to drive, get off the roads and seek shelter.
9. Give your brakes some attention.
The hot weather can also cause trouble for brakes. If your brakes can’t take any more heat, they can lose friction, which isn’t good. Make sure your brakes are still functional and safe – have a trusted mechanic check on them. If there are any problems or issues, have them fixed or repaired. Brakes are kind of essential when it comes to driving.
10. Know what to do if you’re in an accident.
It might seem a little pessimistic, but it’s important that you know what you need to do if you’re in an accident. Secure the scene, use your crash kit to record all needed and relevant information from those involved, take photos of all the cars in the wreck (including your tow truck or wrecker), and write down your account of the accident as soon as possible.
Summer is here, and with it the risks of traffic, high temperatures, and mechanical issues. Stay safe on the roads this summer with the above tips.
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