The long days and warm sun make summer the perfect time to hit the road. Whether it’s a quick weekend escape or an epic road trip that spans months, there are lots of opportunities for fun that are only a car trip away.
It’s important to remember to be safe when traveling, though, and there are some particular dangers that are unique to traveling in the summertime.
To help everyone have more fun on their road trips this summer, we at Rosen & Ohr, P.A. wanted to share this list of summer driving safety tips. Hopefully you’ll have an incident-free summer, but should you find yourself in a crash, don’t hesitate to contact our seasoned car accident attorneys to help you navigate the claims process and seek the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
You can schedule your free initial consultation by calling us or visiting our contact page.
What to Check Before Driving
While it’s always important to keep up with vehicle maintenance and get regular tune-ups for your vehicle, there are some specific checks to make before embarking on any long car trips, especially in the summer.
Here are a few things to make sure you check before driving:
- Cooling system – An overheated engine can bring any road trip to a swift and steamy end. You don’t want that to happen when you’re stranded in a rural area. Make sure your engine cooling system is in good condition and that you have enough coolant before setting out on long trips in the summer heat.
- Battery – With all the extra electronics wired into cars these days, along with any other devices that draw power, like phones or laptops, vehicles are more reliant on their batteries than ever. The extreme summer heat also makes batteries use more energy more quickly. You don’t want your battery to die in an isolated area, so make sure it has plenty of charge. Batteries should be changed every three to five years.
- Tires – Check the pressure levels of your tires, as overinflated or underinflated tires can reduce your fuel efficiency and cause safety issues. You also want to look for leaks and make sure you still have a deep enough tread on your tires before going on any long trips. Be sure to check the condition of your spare tire. Tires should be changed out every 25,000 to 50,000 miles, depending on the wear.
- Wiper blades – You don’t want to be caught in a storm and not be able to see because your wiper blades are worn out. To maintain maximum visibility in bad weather conditions, change out your wiper blades every six months to a year. You also want to make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid to take care of summertime bugs.
- Oil levels – Especially in hot conditions, you need a good supply of oil to keep your car’s engine humming. You certainly want to get an oil change before going on any long trips this summer. Oil changes should be done every 5,000 miles or as recommended by the car’s manufacturer.
- Air conditioning – To keep you and your passengers in peak comfort, give your car’s A/C system a look and a recharge before hitting the road. If you run out of refrigerant or the compressor breaks, it could make for a long, uncomfortable trip.
- Windshield – If it’s cracked, get it fixed or replaced. Most car insurers can help you get your windshield repaired or replaced for a reasonable price.
While some of these components you can check yourself, you may need professional help for the others. Bringing your car in for an oil change and inspection before a long trip is always a good idea.
Why Is It Dangerous to Drive in the Summer?
Summer is an attractive season for car trips, but it also poses some unique dangers compared to travel during other times of the year.
For instance, there are more drivers on the road in the summer compared with other times of the year, which increases the likelihood of accidents.
The intense heat puts a lot of strain on both people and machinery alike. Car batteries have to work harder in the extreme heat, and if something causes the car to break down, the high temperatures can put passengers in serious danger.
Heavy summer thunderstorms can cause extremely low visibility, and pooling water can set the stage for hydroplaning and loss of control – especially if your car’s tires have thin tread.
For these reasons and others, it’s important to be extremely cautious on the roads and take the proper steps before you start your trip.
Top Tips for Safe Travel in Summer
We’ve included a few suggestions to ensure you have a safe summer adventure on the road:
- Bring your vehicle in for routine service before traveling. They’ll check all the components we listed above, top off your fluid levels, make sure your hose connections are all tight, and generally make sure your vehicle is in safe condition for your excursion.
- Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. You can be sunburned even through your car’s windshield or windows, and sunglasses will help you better see the road and any potential hazards in your path.
- Pack a survival kit. Accidents happen even with the best of preparations and intentions, and you want to be prepared for the worst. Your survival kit should include water, non-perishable snacks, first aid supplies, flashlights and batteries, jumper cables, flares, tools for changing a tire, and a device to charge your cellphone.
- Get a good night’s sleep before driving. This is especially important for long trips, as inadequate rest can impact your focus, concentration, judgment, and reaction times. Make sure you and anyone else who’s driving are adequately rested before you leave and take frequent breaks once you’re on the road.
- Don’t exceed your vehicle’s weight or towing capacity. Doing so creates a serious safety hazard.
- Tie down all heavy objects to make sure nobody is hurt if a crash happens.
Contact Rosen & Ohr Today After a Car Accident
While we hope that you have an accident-free summer, we also want you to know that we’re here for you if an accident does happen. If you’re involved in a crash, we can help you prove the other driver was responsible and help you pursue compensation for your losses.
To get started, schedule your free initial consultation by calling us or visiting our contact page.