Tips for Safe Summer Driving
Summer driving brings about road trips, family vacations, and trips to the beach. For most drivers the worries of weather and road hazards are many months away, and motorists hit the road in large numbers. Even though summer driving may not present as many challenges as other times of the year, there are many important safety tips and maintenance tips to keep in mind to have the safest, worry free summer:
1. Road Construction- Summertime means orange cones and areas of road construction for many drivers. Be aware of road construction signs, precautions, and speed limit changes. These are there for the safety of you and your passengers, as well as the workers. In areas of road construction always remember to slow down and plan for sudden changes in traffic flow or stops. Watch for dips or bumps in the road as well as potential road hazards like small rocks being thrown out by passing trucks, fresh tar, or steel plates.
2. Rain storms- Weather related hazards could happen in every season. In the summer watch for sudden afternoon downpours, which can flood roadways and bring fallen branches, mudslides, falling rocks, or other potential safety hazards. Some areas may be especially prone to roadways washing out or closing down, such as areas by bridges, streams, or reservoirs. Plan ahead with an emergency kit in the trunk, and never try to drive through a roadway with rushing water passing over it.
3. Debris- With road construction and rainstorms bringing debris into roadways, it is also important to remember debris can be sudden and unavoidable hazards, so taking extra precaution may prevent an accident or a blow out. Small patches of scattered debris on highways should be approached with caution. If a vehicle has lost a load in front of you, this debris could be scattered, or potentially even more could fall off before the problem is detected. If you encounter debris on the road you should decrease speed, and change lanes, anticipating the potential for more, and try to avoid swerving or overcorrecting.
4. Air Conditioning- In the middle of the summer Air Conditioning is a necessary accessory for most drivers. Before the weather gets to its peak heat, have your air conditioning inspected for clogs, leaks, cracks in hoses, or other signs of potential problems. A working air conditioner is not just a luxury in some areas, but a necessity to keep you and your loved ones safe and outside of harmful temperatures.
5. Oil Change- Oil in your vehicle is responsible for keeping the engine lubricated, running smoothly, and most importantly, cool. If oil has broken down over time and with too much heat, it will not do a proper job lubricating and keeping the engine cool any longer, which can account for the overheating of a vehicle, especially in the summer months. It is also important to note that in most oil changes the vehicle’s coolant, washer fluid, and other functions are checked or topped off. This is the easiest preventative maintenance you can perform on your vehicle to prevent breakdowns.
Always remember that in warm weather the temperature in your vehicle will climb fast. Due to how quickly temperatures inside a closed off vehicle can rise, NEVER leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down, and not even for just a few moments. Both children and animals lack the ability to properly regulate their body temperature quickly enough to cool down in extreme heat and can result in injury or even death.