A fleet manager’s guide to driving in the summer heat 

Posted 17 May 2024

As the days get longer and the sun shines brighter, the summer months bring a welcome boost to many businesses. But for fleet managers, it’s not all ice cream cones and beach trips. The scorching heat throws a curveball that can impact driver safety, vehicle performance, and overall efficiency. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), summer months typically see an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents. In 2019, for example, the NHTSA reported that the summer months of June, July, and August accounted for approximately 31% of all traffic fatalities in the United States. 

To address these challenges head on, we have put together a comprehensive guide to equip you with essential tips to keep your people safe and your vehicles operating efficiently, even in the hottest weather.  

Keep your team cool and comfortable: prioritizing driver well-being 

We know your drivers are the heart of your fleet. That’s why we’re sharing valuable tips to keep them sharp and focused throughout the summer months. Their safety and well-being is of utmost importance.

Addressing driver dehydration is crucial to prevent fatigue, dizziness, and impaired judgment, all of which can jeopardize safety. Motivate your team to prioritize hydration by carrying refillable water bottles and taking regular breaks. Supplying drivers with refillable bottles and installing water coolers in the office would help to ensure they start their shifts fully replenished in body and mind. 

Consider strategic scheduling to prioritize driver safety. Changing delivery schedules to cooler mornings or evening hours avoids the midday heat peak when fatigue and accidents are more likely. These proactive scheduling measures ensure your drivers stay safe, without affecting the production plan. 

Dress for Success. Provide your drivers with loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton to keep them cool and comfortable. Don’t forget sunglasses with UV protection and wide-brimmed hats for added sun protection. 

Maintaining a cool cab is crucial for both safety and alertness. Encourage drivers to use air conditioning efficiently and ensure the cooling system is well maintained. Investing in sunshades for windshields and side windows can further reduce reliance on AC and potentially improve fuel efficiency. 

Educate drivers on early signs of heatstroke, such as excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Equip vehicles with emergency kits containing cooling wipes and electrolyte drinks for early intervention. 

Optimizing vehicle performance 

Summer heat can be tough on your fleet, but with these tips you can keep your vehicles running smoothly all summer long.  

Thorough pre-trip inspections are vital year-round, but even more so during summer. CameraMatics’ digital daily vehicle checks can be customized to include summer-specific checks, reminding drivers to pay close attention to tyre pressure, fluid levels, and cooling system functionality. 

Hot weather can significantly increase tyre pressure, impacting fuel efficiency and safe handling. Regular tyre pressure checks are essential for safety and optimal performance. Underinflated tyres can lead to blowouts and decreased fuel economy. 

Routine maintenance plays a key role in summer. Consider scheduling preventative checks more frequently, focusing on the cooling system, engine performance, and electrical components. Early detection and repair of potential issues prevents breakdowns and costly downtime. 

Hot weather can negatively impact fuel efficiency. Encourage drivers to adopt fuel-saving practices like maintaining legal speed limits, avoiding harsh braking and idling. Utilizing cruise control whenever possible also improves efficiency. 

Drivers should be vigilant about checking engine temperature gauges. If the engine starts to overheat, pull over safely and allow it to cool down before continuing the journey. 

Leveraging technology for a safer summer 

At CameraMatics, we understand the unique challenges fleet managers face during the summer months. Our comprehensive fleet management platform offers a variety of features designed to empower you: 

  • Digital daily vehicle checks can be customized to include summer-specific checks, reminding drivers to pay close attention to tyre pressure, fluid levels, and cooling system functionality. 
  • Real-time driver monitoring: Identify potential fatigue signs or unsafe driving practices, such as excessive swerving or lane departure, and take proactive steps to address any concerns before they escalate. 
  • In the scorching summer sun, visibility through traditional mirrors can often be compromised. Fortunately, advancements in camera and sensor technology provide the driver with an extra pair of eyes and ears. Rear view cameras and blind spot monitoring systems are unaffected by glare and provide wider fields of view, enhancing safety on the road. 
  • GPS tracking and route optimization: Optimize routes and track vehicle locations in real-time. Schedule deliveries during cooler hours and ensure drivers are taking appropriate rest breaks in shaded areas. 
  • AI-Powered telematics: Gain valuable insights into driver behavior and vehicle performance. Identify trends and patterns that might indicate fatigue or inefficient driving habits. Leverage these insights to implement targeted driver coaching programs focused on safe summer driving practices. 
  • Driver Coaching: Use collected data to implement targeted driver coaching programs focused on safe summer driving practices. By providing personalized feedback and training opportunities, you can help drivers develop habits that promote safety and efficiency during the hot summer months. 

Beat the Heat with CameraMatics

By implementing these tips and leveraging CameraMatics’ advanced fleet management solutions, you can ensure a safe and efficient summer for your fleet. Get in touch with us today and let’s discuss how we can help your fleet navigate the summer heat.