The temperature is rising. The days are getting longer. The kids are nearing the end of their school year. That’s right: summer is nearly upon us. While summer might make you think of barbecues and the beach, it’s also a time of sunburns, mosquito bites and road trip traffic. Preparing for potential roadside hazards can ensure you arrive at your destination as safely as possible. As you pile friends or family into the car this summer, take the following car safety tips into account, whether you’re traveling across the country or just across town.
5 Summer Driving Safety Tips
- Beware of summer storms. There’s nothing quite like the ambiance of a summer thunderstorm. When you’re on the road during one, the downpour can feel more stressful than atmospheric. Summer storms require extra attention on the road. Roads can become extremely slippery when wet, especially in the first few moments after the rain has begun falling. It takes about 30 minutes for the oils and dirt on the road to wash away, so exercise caution at the first sight of raindrops. Be sure your windshield wipers are working correctly and always use your lights when you flick your wipers on.
- Prepare your battery for hot temperatures. Think your battery is safe now that it’s no longer winter? Think again. Batteries can suffer serious damage in high temperatures. The warmth can lead to internal breakdown and failure when combined with excessive vibration. Short of controlling the weather, the best you can do is try to control that vibration. Be sure your battery is securely mounted before you hit the road this summer. While you’re under the hood, clean up corrosive buildup on the battery terminals and tighten cable clamps. The heat can lead to faster evaporation of fluids; the more secure the clamps, the better. If your battery is more than three years old, consider having it tested to determine about how much longer it will last. The last thing you want is to be stranded on vacation with a dead battery.
- Keep passengers cool. Air conditioning isn’t just for comfort: driving in high temperatures without it can be downright dangerous. Cool temperatures can reduce fatigue, making travel safer and easier for everyone in the car. If your car is struggling to get as cool as it once did, check your refrigerant levels and replace your cabin filters. These quick and affordable fixes can do wonders for your comfort levels! Even if your air conditioning works great, consider putting together a summer travel emergency kit for your car. Include a few gallons of water, jumper cables, road flares and a flashlight with fresh batteries. A first aid kit and some basic tools will round out your collection of resources, ensuring you have a lifeline in a worst-case scenario.
- Never leave kids or pets in the car alone. Every summer, it seems there is another tragic case of a caregiver forgetting a little one in the back of the car with devastating consequences. In the heat of the summer, a car’s internal temperature can rise from 78 degrees to more than 100 degrees in just three minutes. If you’re concerned about your ability to remember the little one in your back seat, consider creating a reminder for yourself. Take off a shoe and place it in the back with your baby, so when you stand up you’ll remember the precious cargo behind you. This exercise works just as well with pets on long journeys. Whether you’re leaving for five minutes or five hours, never leave children or your pets in the hot car alone.
- Monitor tire pressure and tread. Warm temperatures can cause the air inside your tires to expand. This puts them at greater risk of a blowout. Check the pressure of your tires regularly to avoid over or under inflating them. Be sure to fill your tires according to the numbers listed on the inside of your vehicle’s driver’s side door jamb. The numbers printed on the tires themselves are the maximum inflation pressure rates, not the recommended amount. While you’re inspecting your tires, check out the tread using a penny. Place a coin in the tread with Lincoln’s head facing you. If you can spot Honest Abe’s face, it’s probably time for new tires.
The best summer car safety tip? Maintain extensive insurance coverage on all your family’s vehicles. Regardless of what happens on the open road, Wawanesa is here to help. If you’re curious about our offerings, request your free quote today. By answering a few quick questions, you can arm yourself with the facts necessary to protect your most precious cargo.