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How to protect yourself from sun overexposure this summer

Post Date - Jul 7, 2023

As summer heats up, we wanted to take some time to talk about UV safety and the importance of hydration. As you go about your day-to-day behind the wheel, you may forget to take some of the essential steps to protect yourself from the sun and its potentially harmful effects. Here’s a rundown of the most common signs of UV overexposure and how to effectively combat them.

Sun exposure

Did you know that as CDL-A drivers, your face, hands, and even the arm closest to the driver’s side window, are at a higher risk of UV damage? Your hands on the steering wheel are exposed to sunlight through the windshield and windows, and whatever arm is closest to the window is also at risk of too much sun exposure. Whether hitting the road on a long haul, or running errands on your day off, consider applying sunscreen (with an SPF of at least 30) to your face, arms, and hands, reapplying every two hours if possible. To further boost UV protection, you should also consider wearing a hat to protect your face and your eyes from the sun!

Skin cancer

There are many risks associated with excessive and unprotected sun exposure, the most serious being skin cancer. One in five American adults will develop skin cancer by age 70. While this is a scary statistic, skin cancer can be easily treated if caught early in its progression. This means you should regularly schedule appointments with your healthcare provider to check for signs of the disease. If you notice a skin growth that has changed in shape, size, or color or has become painful, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.


Hydration is always important. Proper hydration lays the foundation for physical health and improves your ability to stay focused and alert, which is crucial for professional drivers. The importance of hydration only increases in the summer as temps rise and the sun’s UV rays increase in intensity, making it easier to dehydrate. It’s recommended that adults drink 64 ounces of water each day.

If consuming coffee or energy drinks is part of your daily routine, it is recommended to limit your intake, as they contain caffeine, which can dehydrate you as it has diuretic properties. We know that cutting out caffeine altogether probably isn’t a possibility for most of us, but putting a daily limit of one to two drinks is a good idea. Try swapping a caffeinated beverage with a sports drink containing electrolytes (essential minerals that promote hydration). If you don’t hydrate properly, you can put yourself at severe risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion requires treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms. If you feel weak and thirsty, are sweating heavily, experiencing cramps, have a headache, clammy skin, nausea, or your pulse is fast/soft, you may have heat exhaustion. Move to a cool place and drink cold fluids. If you don’t feel better, contact emergency services since heat exhaustion can develop into heat stroke.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a serious condition with dangerous consequences. It is the result of a rapid increase in body temperature and a failure cool down and regulate. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache, trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, and unconsciousness. If you experience these symptoms, you should call 911 and move to a cool place. Taking off any extra layers of clothing and putting cool water on your wrists, ankles, and neck can lower your body temperature as you wait for medical help.

Your carrier should care about you both in and out of the driver’s seat. Ascend makes driver health, safety and satisfaction a priority! Learn more about our career opportunities today!