The Truck Driver’s Guide to Navigating Summer Construction
May 22, 2023
For a truck driver, life on the road is about navigating challenges. While many truckers enjoy driving in the sunny and clear summer weather, this season isn’t without its roadblocks.
Summer is the peak season for road construction projects in many parts of the world. While these projects are necessary for maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure, they can also cause significant traffic disruptions and delays.
If you’re planning a road trip or daily commute this summer, it's important to be aware of the major construction projects in your area and plan accordingly.
Which Roads Should Truckers Steer Clear Of?
Major highways and interstates are often targeted for rehabilitation during the summer months. These projects can involve repaving, bridge repair, and other major construction activities that can cause significant traffic delays.
Infrastructure like tunnels and bridges may also be targeted for work in the summer. In major areas such as the D.C. region, it’s common for multiple projects to be under construction at the same time. These projects can result in lane closures for some of the most popular routes.
But it’s not just major highways and the bridges and tunnels supporting them that could be under construction this summer. Construction is also common at this time of year for:
● Summer Destinations. As summer vacationers head toward popular travel destinations, the roads and highways surrounding them could be put under construction, or otherwise become congested due to traffic.
● Urban Roads and Back Streets. While truckers sometimes avoid smaller routes, they can be helpful for the trip if they’re optimized for freight carriers. However, these roads may be subject to expansion or maintenance projects during the summer months.
● Major Intersections with Traffic Signals. Major intersections with traffic signals are often subject to maintenance during the summer months. These projects can cause substantial delays, as traffic is often halted and directed by workers in these areas.
In conclusion, it's important to be aware of the major construction projects in your area and plan your route accordingly. But how can you go about this planning process?
How to Avoid Delays Through Better Planning
Truck drivers are often faced with the challenge of navigating through construction zones, which can cause significant delays and disruptions to their delivery schedules.
Planning ahead and being aware of potential construction zones can help truck drivers avoid these issues and stay on schedule.
Before hitting the road, check the local transportation department’s website or mobile app for updates on construction projects. Look for information on planned lane closures, detours, and other potential disruptions to your route. Some websites offer ongoing updates, so you can tell if construction projects are planned, underway, paused, or completed.
You can also use all the resources at your disposal as a truck driver to avoid construction-related delays and congestion. Some of these resources include:
● GPS Systems: Use GPS or mapping software to plan your route in advance, taking into account any known construction zones. Consider alternate routes that may be less congested or have fewer construction zones. Make sure your system is updated regularly to account for any new or recently started projects.
● Traffic Apps: Helpful navigation apps such as Waze or Google Maps can provide real-time updates on traffic conditions, including construction zones. Use these apps to help you navigate through congested areas and avoid delays.
● Dispatch: When in doubt, turn to the talented dispatch team, if your trucking company has one. These professionals can provide navigational support, which is highly useful if you need to adjust on the fly to keep your trip on track.
If possible, adjust your delivery schedule to avoid peak travel times or known construction zones. Consider scheduling deliveries for early morning or late at night when traffic is lighter.
Truck drivers can plan to avoid construction zones by checking for updates on construction projects, planning their route in advance, using traffic apps, adjusting their schedule, staying alert and following signs, and communicating with dispatch. By taking these steps, truck drivers can minimize delays and disruptions caused by construction zones and stay on schedule.
How to Stay Safer During Summer Travels
Truck drivers can plan carefully, but there are some occasions when they may end up stuck in traffic during the sweltering summer months.
Overheating can cause significant damage to a truck's engine and other components, so it’s important to take steps to prevent this if you find yourself stuck in traffic.
First, keep an eye on your temperature gauge. If you notice it is starting to climb, take action to prevent your truck from overheating. One easy solution is to turn off your engine while you’re stationary. This will also help conserve fuel and reduce emissions.
Other helpful tips include:
● Turning on your auxiliary power unit, if your truck has one, to keep the cab cool
● Opening your windows to circulate air and offset the summer heat
● Completing pre-trip maintenance like checking your AC filter and coolant levels
Drivers can prevent their trucks from overheating in summer traffic by keeping an eye on the temperature and making smart judgments accordingly. Just like with avoiding delays, staying safe is all a matter of planning ahead and thinking strategically.
Here at Trans Lines, we take great pride in supporting our truckers all throughout the year. If you’re looking to get on the road this summer, our safe vehicles and dedicated dispatch crew will help you enjoy the road. To learn more about driving with us, reach out today.