The hot weather is upon us, for now at least, and as a delivery driver, the summer months can bring just as many difficulties as the cold temperatures of winter. Delivery drivers should always be mindful of the impact of extreme weather on their vehicles, road safety, and health. So, we have created this list of handy tips to keep you cool in your van and summer-ready!
If your van has air-con, consider yourself lucky! Make the most of it on those hot summer days while you’re stuck in a long line of traffic. A blast of the air-con can combat drowsiness and keep you cool.
In a van with no air con, open the windows to allow the air to circulate fresh, cooler air through the cab. Keep in mind that this will increase drag and affect your fuel efficiency.
Try to avoid keeping your vehicle too cool, though, as getting out of the van to make your deliveries means your body will go through quite drastic temperature changes, which can cause heat stress.
Better weather tends to mean more roadworks and holiday traffic. Being prepared by ensuring your route is as efficient as possible will save you fuel and time when you are making your deliveries.
As you’re on the road constantly, it is essential that you stay hydrated. Store bottled water in a cool dark area within your van to make sure it doesn’t get warm. Better yet, freeze a bottle the day before and grab it before you leave for work. Use it as an ice pack to cool you down while it melts, then drink the ice-cold water to stay fresh and hydrated throughout the day. You could also consider taking healthy snacks in your van, such as fruit and vegetables, which have high water content.
Heatwaves can come out of nowhere, so make sure you check the weather forecast regularly to make sure you are prepared for extreme weather. This will give you time to prepare your van for hot weather road conditions (such as slick roads), tyre conditions and brake performance.
As soon as the weather changes, hay fever sufferers are hit with puffy eyes and sniffly noses, which isn’t exactly ideal when your profession involves driving. As a delivery driver, you need to make sure that your medication doesn’t cause drowsiness to ensure you can drive safely. To reduce your level of exposure to pollen, close windows and vents in your van and keep tissues on hand.
We’ve all been there, the sun is beaming down through the driver’s side window of the van, and before you know it, you have a rather impressive ‘van tan’. While the significantly tanned right arm wasn’t the look you were going for, it is part and parcel of being a van driver.
That being said, protecting yourself from the sun is essential for your health. During the summer months, keep your skin safe by maintaining a good supply of sun lotion in your van and applying it throughout the day. Wearing a hat and sunglasses will help protect your head from the sunlight and reduce bright sunlight impairing your vision on the road.
Making sure that you are dressed appropriately can make all the difference in keeping you cooler in hot weather. When the weather gets hotter, shed heavy trousers and jumpers for short-sleeved shirts and shorts. Most workwear includes this option for drivers whether you have a specified uniform or not. If not, ask for permission. Also, as darker colours attract heat, try to wear lighter colours on hot days.
Summer days are bright and can create visibility issues due to glare. To combat this, ensure your washer levels are maintained, and the wipers are in good condition. Combine external cleaning with the use of a microfibre cloth and glass cleaner on the inside, and your windscreen will be sparkling clean, improving visibility.
Taking care of your vehicle in hot weather can help you avoid faults, breakdowns and delays. To keep your van safe and on the road for your deliveries, perform regular checks on your vehicle and tyres. Your tyres should be in good condition as hot weather, and incorrect inflation can increase wear significantly. When performing vehicle checks, remember to be aware of your air conditioning functions and the levels of your brake fluid, wiper fluid and radiator coolant levels.
As a delivery driver, you may find yourself caught between the rising temperatures and the developing economy, making it hard for you to balance your workload. That being said, taking appropriate breaks not only increases your productivity and morale, it can also help to avoid burnout and, in hotter weather, heatstroke. Knowing the signs of heatstroke as a delivery driver is critical; if you begin to feel agitated, confused or disorientated, it is considered a medical emergency. Taking regular breaks and keeping cool can help you to avoid health issues and keep you fit and well too.
The weather in the UK is vastly unpredictable, but staying prepared can keep you in control and safe on the road. Taking precautions when the temperature rises will ensure your van runs efficiently while avoiding overheating and costly breakdowns. Combining those vehicle checks with nourishing your health in the heat will ensure that you can maintain your work schedule and profits year-round!