Summer time Blues

Summer time weather has either shown up or is just around the corner. Now, before the worst of it, while the temperature is moderate is a good time to shift our pumps and our selves into summer mode.

A good place to start is the cab of your pump. Take everything out, right down to the seats. That extra set of insulated coveralls and those winter gloves and insulated boots probably need to go home for a good wash and be put away for next year. Get all of the extra winter gear out of your way and out of your cab. Mix up a bucket of soapy water and clean the winter grime out. Spend a few extra minutes and tilt your cab and wash the salt off of the underside of your cab and give your engine a good bath. Be sure to clean your radiator too with out doing any damage to the cooling fins. While your interior is drying, check your belts and hoses. Summer temps are hard on a cooling system.

After you armor-all the interior it is time to make sure all of your summer gear is with you, don’t forget your rain gear. Most importantly don’t forget your safety gear; hard hat – safety glasses – safety vest – gloves.

Summer temperatures are harder on your tires than anything else. If your typical day has you on freeways and interstates make sure your tire pressure is up to or at the maximum. The less tire flex you have in the summer, the cooler your tires will be, and it will improve your fuel mileage.

We all use extra caution on icy-slick roads but the slickest road surface is found in the heat of the summer. Oil dripping on the roadways is collected there until it starts to rain. The beginning of a summer rain storm is when that oil is all brought to the surface of the hot wet road; this is the time to use those lessons you learned on the ice. Increase your following distance; if that woman that is putting on her lipstick while talking on her cell phone wants in front of you just back off some more and let her. Your reaction time may be good, but the oil on the road won’t let the pump stop when you want it to. Stay in your lane, you are being paid to get there on time AND in one piece. Watch out for standing water on the roadway, hydroplaning can happen at speeds over 40mph; it is a horrible feeling.

When you get to the job and the guy wants to have you go where you know you will be stuck… call dispatch, don’t let the summer heat get you hot, calmly explain the problem and cost of a wrecker; you can work it out. When you do get back on the ‘dry’ clean under your deck and the underside of your fenders and your tires. Most places it is a sure ticket to track mud onto the roadway, and it is just good sense not to.

And last but not least: Take care of your self first. Drink plenty of water or gator-aid, take rest breaks when you need them, if it is hot and you stop sweating; cool down spray yourself with some water, find some shade, drink some water, have the mixer driver keep an eye on you, call dispatch.

You are too valuable. Nothing about that job is worth risking your life.

Written By Bob Sanderson Published by