-Traffic congestion and hot weather increase the risk of truck breakdowns and accidents.-
-ADAC TruckService provides tips on how to cope with the heat.-
When the temperatures rise on Germany’s roads, stress levels also increase for people and materials – and so does the risk of accidents for all road users. ADAC TruckService is advising people to check their vehicles carefully and pay particular attention to their own health on hot days.
“High temperatures combined with excessive traffic put a strain on professional drivers. Heat and a lack of sleep affect concentration and increase the risk of accidents,” warns Werner Renz, managing director of ADAC TruckService in Laichingen.
Traffic congestion at the start of the holidays across Germany, extreme heat and roadworks that go on for miles – all the stress factors faced by professional drivers converge all at once during the summer months. “Time pressure and a feeling of helplessness, or an inability to respond properly, are typical causes of stress in these situations,” says Renz. If you know your limits and follow a few key rules, you will be able to remain much more relaxed when travelling, he added.
Maximum concentration is required on narrow road construction sites in particular. Distractions should be avoided at all costs. Tablets, newspapers and mobile phones should be left in the glove compartment and not used at the steering wheel, even in traffic jams.
It is important to get enough sleep so you can keep a cool head and concentrate properly even in very stressful situations. And when it comes to food and drink, remember that carbohydrates help you concentrate, whereas meals that are too heavy, fatty or rich make you tired. Light meals, lots of fruit and smaller portions plus sufficient liquids are ideal in hot weather.
Excessive sweating combined with not enough fluids will also quickly lead to tiredness, headaches or difficulty in concentrating and responding. Professional drivers should drink three litres of fluids on hot days, preferably before they start to feel thirsty. Stay away from ice-cold drinks as they only cool you down for a short time and even encourage sweating because the body needs to compensate for the huge difference in temperature.
Cooling your body down too much may provide short-term relief but can cause circulatory problems in the long run. That is why the air conditioning should be set so that there is a difference of maximum six degrees between the inside temperature and the outside temperature. It is better to let fresh air circulate in the driver’s cabin before setting off and open the windows at the start of the journey. An immediate refreshing effect can be provided by spraying special body sprays (cooling by evaporation), wearing a pre-cooled T-shirt that has been placed in the fridge, running cold water over your forearms or applying cooling gel to your legs and keeping them elevated during break periods. Light-coloured headwear is recommended when unloading.
If you cannot avoid parking or driving in direct sunlight, sun protection can be helpful, such as a reflective window covering behind the windscreen. Take particular care if you experience headaches, dizziness, drowsiness or nausea. In these circumstances, stop immediately, move into the shade, drink plenty of fluids and seek medical attention in an emergency. On motorways, the emergency telephones can be used to call for help quickly and the free Doc Stop hotline on 01805 112024 can arrange contact with the nearest doctor.
You cannot check your tyres enough in hot weather
When it comes to vehicles, the correct tyre pressure is essential. If the thermometer climbs above 30 degrees Celsius for a long period of time, the temperature of the tarmac increases to 40–60 degrees Celsius. Tyres get softer, their contact area increases and they wear out faster. On peak days, the call centre in Laichingen receives up to 300 breakdown calls due to tyre blowouts. So the number-one hot weather rule when it comes to vehicles – as advised by ADAC TruckService – is to ensure you are driving with the correct air pressure and check the filling pressure on cold tyres and the spare wheel at least every two weeks. Tyres and the spare wheel should be inspected regularly for damage such as cuts and tears caused by foreign objects.
In the event of damage, roadside assistance teams can be contacted 24 hours a day in Germany on 0800 5248000 and in Europe on +49 7333 808 350.