When summer rolls around, a new set of safety, maintenance and driving challenges comes with it. Whether you’re dealing with extreme heat, heavy rains, high temperatures or slick roads, a little preparation and some simple precautions can help keep your drivers safe, your fleet on the road and your business rolling.
Ryder offers the following tips for preparing your fleet, training drivers and keeping your vehicles in peak summer driving condition.
6 Ways to Prepare Your Fleet Summer Driving for the Heat
During the summer – typically the time for longer trips – it’s important to perform basic maintenance and safety checks before every trip. Follow these six simple steps to get your vehicles ready:
- Check and top off all fluids, including oil, coolant, brake, transmission and power steering fluids. If fluid leakage is detected, bring the vehicle in for service.
- Test the air conditioning before each trip to ensure a comfortable cab temperature. If the air isn’t blowing cold, get the system repaired.
- Check windshield wiper operation: road salt and cold temperatures from the winter are hard on wiper blades, which can become ragged from use and are vulnerable to summer heat. If they’re not in great shape, get them replaced.
- Make sure reefer units are in order and can regulate temperature in the heat of summer.
- Get tires checked: they wear out faster in hotter temperatures.
- Check tire pressure: the best way to prevent flat tires is to check tire pressure regularly. Under-inflation is the most common cause of tire failure, and can be caused by excess heat build-up
5 Summer Driving Tips to Keep Drivers and Other Motorists Safe
Reduce speed on wet roads to maximize traction and avoid hydroplaning.
- Increase following distances to compensate for heavier summer traffic.
- Take frequent breaks to combat increased fatigue – drink lots of fluids to avoid heat exhaustion.
- Pay more attention when driving in construction zones and tourist areas.
- Use good quality sunglasses to guard against eyestrain and preserve vision.
5 Year Round Maintenance & Safety Tips
Regular preventive maintenance – tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations – go a long way toward preventing breakdowns and downtime. Consider these guidelines to prepare your fleet for peak performance, all year round.
- Use extreme caution in removing the radiator cap if the engine is hot.
- If an engine overheats, visually check the coolant overflow tank to ensure that it’s at the proper level.
- DO NOT remove the radiator cap even when the engine has cooled. If the water/coolant level is low, contact your local maintenance team for assistance.
- Inspect any interior box lights and lift gate activator switches that are illuminated. Non-functioning lights could cause battery drains if drivers don’t know they’re on.
- Keep vehicles maintained. Standard inspections and regular preventive maintenance can help avert potential issues before they become bigger problems down the road.
These best practices can help keep your drivers, fleet and business running smoother and safer in the hot summer months.