An unprecedented heat wave continues to disrupt everyday life for people in the Great Plains all the way to the Great Lakes. Temperatures exceeding normal coupled with heavy humidity will really test people in this part of the country. It is and will continue to be truly sweltering when they get outside.
These conditions should definitely be noted by carriers and shippers. In short, these type of conditions can impact driver health. Also, strangely, it can have a serious affect on trains carrying cargo.
In most of Oklahoma and Kansas, temperatures soared beyond 100 degrees. And the heat is expected to spread in all directions from there. This will include places like Oklahoma City, Wichita, Topeka, Minneapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, Little Rock, Memphis and on and on… Records may not be set in each of these places, nevertheless, it’ll reach the 90s’ to above 100 in most of the major cities in this section of the country. Not to mention, the humidity will be so thick, it’ll feel like an article of clothing you’re actually wearing.
The heat is supposed to be so hot that it will cause some railroad tracks to warp from the pressure. This is not a joke. Railway expert, Jim Blaze, suggested that main line railway tracks, because they suffer extremes of hot and cold, they sometimes buckle. When they buckle, the warped areas are called “sun kinks.” Unfortunately, these sun kinks can result in deforming of the tracks and produce legitimate derailments. This is why track engineers account for historical heat and cold when fixing areas of the track.
Consequently, in times of heat exceeding 100 degrees, track inspectors make a point to really examine the tracks ahead of coming trains. Plus, in these conditions train operators often slow the speed of trains down to avoid in possible derailments. This, of course, then negatively impact freight schedules.
Freight Driver Health
Now, when it comes to truck driver health during these extreme hot periods, it’s critical that drivers pack extra water and wear light colored and loose-fitting clothes in case they have to step into the heat. Plus, they should take breaks in air-conditioned spaces, not outdoors. Plus, with humid, heavy air, pollutants can get trapped so it’s wise to simply avoid the outdoors. After all, it must be noted that heat is the weather condition responsible for the most deaths each year.