Ready for your summer adventure? Here’s how to stay safe on the road
(Photo credit: MSN.com)
It’s summer once again and everyone’s eager to dig their toes on the sandy beach or go on a road trip with their family and friends.
What most people don’t realize is that summer is “the most dangerous season of the year for driving” according to data from the Department of Transportation in 2014.
Why is this a fact? There are several reasons. Summer means school’s out and that there will be more teens driving on the streets. Also, more roads will experiencetraffic congestion due to the sheer volume of people driving to respective their summer destinations, including cyclists and motorcycle drivers.
Summer also means more road constructions and detours, and therefore more incidents of car accidents happening.
Hot weather also leads to more tire blowouts and overheated engines. Julie Lee Vice President and National Director of AARP Driver Safety advises to “keep tire pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended level” because it “increases fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon of gas.”
Gas prices usually go up during the summer, so it’s best to keep those tires in tip-top shape, both for safety and economic reasons. To check if your tires need replacing, Lee advises to “insert a quarter into the tire’s tread, with Washington’s head toward the tire. If no portion of his head is covered, the tread is below 1/8 of an inch and you should consider replacing your tires.”
Other tips provided by Lee include not exceeding your car’s payload capacity, which is indicated in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. To “manage glare and heat,” Lee recommends bringing sunglasses at all times, using a sun shield when parked, drinking plenty of water and avoiding leaving a child or a pet unattended in your car.
Summer is also allergy season, which means you may need allergy medication. Make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist about the effects of your allergy medicine and that it wouldn’t affect your alertness or energy while driving on the road, says Lee.
To prevent allergens from getting into your car, “insulate your car as much as possible, clean and change air filters regularly and consider using plastic, washable floor mats instead of cloth ones for easier cleaning and less moisture retention,” Lee further advises.
In case of summer storms or sun showers, drive with extreme caution as “the roads become very slippery in the first few minutes of rainfall.”
Summer brings more cyclists and motorcycle drivers on the road. Lee advises the following:
- Do not share lanes with motorcycles, they can use a complete traffic lane.
- When driving behind motorcycles, increase your following distance to four seconds
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists and motorcyclists in front, to the rear and to the sides of your vehicle.
To make your journey more pleasant and hassle-free, Reader’s Digest shares some car tips that “every driver should know.”
When your vehicle’s interior heats up, it’s best to roll down the windows while your A/C is running, in order to force hot air out and allow cool air to circulate. When the car cools down and the temperature is about the same as the air outside, you can roll up your windows.
Your steering wheel can really heat up as temperatures rise. Reader’s Digest advises to“turn the wheel 180 degrees before getting out of the car. That way, the side you touch is safely on the shade while you’re out.”
Hot temps can make your car stink. Reader’s Digest suggests that you “tape a dryer sheet onto the air-conditioning,” to freshen the smell.
If your A/C is broken or isn’t working as well as it should, use a solar-powered car fan. Mount it on an open window to expel hot air and to allow air to circulate. Note that tinted windows may interfere with this device’s function.
Reader’s Digest warns that under-inflated tires are risky due to lack of air pressure; over-inflated ones, on the other hand, may hydroplane during a rainstorm.
Hopefully these tips will make your summer more enjoyable and safe. Time to have some fun in the sun!
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