10 Ways To Drive Safely Through Heat Waves This Summer
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It’s important to follow safe driving tips during summer since the season brings longer periods of daylight, family vacations and inexperienced teen drivers eager to get out of the house. These factors encourage more drivers to get on the road, which means summer also tends to bring a high rate of car accidents. In addition, extreme heat during the summer months can put a strain on vehicles and sometimes lead to improper functioning.
Keep reading to learn 10 tips for driving in summer and making sure your car is performing its best in spite of the heat.
How To Prepare When Driving in Summer Heat
If you’re planning a summer road trip, it’s important to think strategically due to the negative effects that heat can have on your car. For example, hot temperatures can make fluids evaporate, hinder fuel circulation and worsen tire pressure and battery efficiency. As a result, it’s helpful to follow these 10 essential summer driving tips to keep yourself and your family members safe on the road.
1. Watch the Weather Forecast
Check the weather before you head out for your vacation and, if possible, look ahead at the forecast and try to plan on leaving on a day when the temperature is a bit cooler. In addition, be sure to watch out for rainstorms and other adverse weather conditions that could impact your ability to drive safely.
2. Keep Up With Regular Car Maintenance
Since your car already has to work a bit harder when you’re driving in hot weather, you should check your fluid levels and make sure your car is in good condition before traveling a long distance in the summer.
In particular, it’s crucial to make sure your car has enough coolant since this fluid can help keep your engine at a consistent temperature. Without enough coolant, your engine could overheat and cause a mechanical breakdown.
3. Time Your Trips
Think about the time of day and the date whenever you hit the road so you can maximize the odds of a safe trip. For example, it’s generally cooler in the early morning and at night, so your car might perform better if you try to do most of your traveling during these times. These times are also safer since fatal crashes are more common during the late afternoon and evening.
You may also want to travel on weekdays since car accidents are more frequent on weekends. Pay attention to the date as well; a 2017 study found that Independence Day was the deadliest day of the year for drivers, meaning you may want to take extra precautions if you need to drive on this holiday.
4. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car
It can be helpful to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case it experiences an internal failure and you’re left stranded on the side of the road. Some of the basic items that may be worth storing in your emergency kit include the following:
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight and batteries
- Drinking water and non-perishable foods
- First aid kit
- Automotive fuses
- Duct tape
5. Wear Sunglasses
Depending on the position of the sun while you’re driving, you may need to wear sunglasses in order to keep sunlight out of your eyes and make sure you can see properly. In particular, polarized sunglasses are designed to minimize glare from lights that could otherwise obstruct your vision.
6. Bring a Cooler
When you travel for a long distance, you should bring a cooler to store bottled water and any other cold drinks you might want during the trip. Most people need to drink four to six cups of water a day and this number can be higher when it’s hot outside. As a result, it’s important to prepare a cooler so you can stay hydrated if you plan on spending most of the day on the road.
7. Keep Your Interior Cool
With how hot it can get in a car during the summer, you should make sure that your car’s air conditioning system is working properly so you can keep the interior of the vehicle at a comfortable temperature while you drive. In addition, you can put up windshield sunshades and roll your car windows down whenever your car is parked to help keep the interior from getting too hot.
8. Stay on the Highways When Possible
Knowing which roads are more dangerous than others can help you map out the best path to your destination, with interstates typically being your safest option. Traffic fatalities are more likely to happen on rural roads than on urban roads. Meanwhile, car accidents are more likely to happen on city streets than on highways, although highway crashes do tend to be more deadly.
In addition, accidents are more common during summer and fall than during the other seasons. Due to the high risk associated with driving during the summer months, sticking to expressways as much as possible will generally lower the odds that you will get into a collision.
9. Ensure Your Insurance Policy Covers Long-Distance Trips
Another step you can take before going on a summer vacation is to make sure your car insurance will cover you throughout your entire trip.
Most American policies will cover you if you visit Canada as well. However, American policies generally don’t extend coverage to Mexico, which means you may need to purchase Mexican tourist auto insurance if you plan on taking a road trip to Mexico.
10. Practice Safe Driving Habits
Perhaps the best summer driving safety tip is to follow driving laws and practice safe driving habits. For example, driving the speed limit will help you to keep a safe distance from other vehicles and avoid getting into a car accident with other drivers.
Similarly, you should avoid distracted driving so that you will notice when there is a traffic jam up ahead and slow down rather than accidentally rear-ending another vehicle. If necessary, be sure to take frequent breaks at rest stops or restaurants so that you can stay alert whenever you’re on the road. Rest areas also give you the opportunity to spend some time outside of a hot car, especially if your child’s body temperature rises.