Summer driving can hold hidden dangers for drivers. With the sweltering summer heat dominating weather reports, keeping vehicles running in top condition and taking a few simple precautions can help avoid serious safety and financial consequences.
Five Summer Driving Dangers
- Sweltering Interiors: According to NHTSA, 27 children die from vehicle-related heat-strokes each year. Never leave children or pets in a vehicle unattended, temperatures can rise dangerously high in just a few minutes even with the windows cracked. Always lock your car and keep keys out of reach of children to avoid them playing in an unattended car and getting trapped. Also to avoid burns, use caution when entering a vehicle with dark interiors, especially leather, which can become too hot to even touch.
- Vehicle Over-heating: Check your car´s cooling system, engine hoses, drive belts and battery. This is especially important if you are planning to tow a boat or full load up a vehicle for a long trip.
- Tire Blowouts: Hot weather can cause air pressure inside the tire to expand, causing tires in poor condition to blowout. Keeping tires properly inflated and maintained is not only safe, but benefits fuel efficiency. To avoid inaccurate pressure readings due to the heat, try to inflate tires when they are at their coolest (usually when they’ve been parked for a while).
- Slick Spots: Summer rainstorms can create mini-oil slicks on the road. Extreme heat can causes oils deposited from vehicles to be absorbed, causing these slick spots when it rains.
- Poorly-packed Vehicles: Secure items to prevent dangerous shifting and/or dangerous flying debris while on the move. To ensure a safer load, check the vehicle’s payload capacity and do not overload the trunk or rear cargo compartment, and ensure any cargo top carriers are properly installed, closed and do not exceed recommended weight limits.
Five Tips to Safer Summer Cruising
- Share the Road: Watch out for pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles out enjoying the summer weather. Pedestrians and these two-wheeled vehicles may be harder to spot in your mirror. (Motorcyclists – Check out our top 10 tips for safe riding)
- Keep your Cool: Don’t let summer heat get the best of your temper, stay calm and keep your passengers and your safety in mind.
- Stay Connected, But Safely: Carry a cell phone and charger in case of emergency or breakdown. However, don’t use it while driving and avoid similar distractions! Also, consider taking a GPS navigation device to help you stay on course in unfamiliar areas but, don’t attempt to program it while driving.
- Pack Smart: Keep a basic emergency kit stocked in the event of a breakdown. Key components may include a cell phone charger, water, snacks, necessary medications, first aid supplies and portable cooling devices, such as battery-powered fans.
- Fill the Tank: A well-fueled car will keep you from being stranded with an empty tank and filling the tank at night will make for a cooler and less crowded task.
Regular maintenance and safe driving are essential to keeping scorching temperatures from causing major driving disasters. Be sure to buckle up and stay safe this summer!