We usually reserve safety tips for wintertime or extreme weather. But in its own way, summer is just as difficult to navigate on the road. While you might have more sunshine and less ice, summer driving presents its own set of challenges.
Increased Chance of a Blowout
According to Nationwide Insurance, you have a greater risk of getting a flat tire during the summer. That’s because hot air expands inside your tires (just like cold air can cause “low tire pressure” warnings).
If your tires are already worn, that extra expansion can lead to a blowout when you least expect it. Preventative maintenance is the key–get your tires checked regularly, and replace tires that are worn before they pop.
Cooling System Refresh
When temperatures soar, we all reach for the AC. There’s no shame in it, but you do need to make sure that the cooling system in your car can handle it. Flushing old coolant can help keep you and your engine cool this summer. Flushing removes any buildup and deposits.
This is something you can technically do yourself, but you might be better off making an appointment with a mechanic.
Hot Car Safety
In 2019, 52 children died in hot cars according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission. Never leave a child (or pet) in a car, no matter the circumstances. Vehicles can quickly turn into ovens, causing heatstroke and death within minutes.
And no matter how careful you think you’re being, always double-check the car to make sure you didn’t forget someone special behind. Consumer Reports warns that anyone, even otherwise excellent parents, could have a crucial memory lapse at the wrong moment.
Road Trip Checklist
If you’re planning a road trip this summer, there are a few things you should do first. The NHTSA recommends checking for active recalls on your vehicle, which you can do for free on their website.
You should also update your road emergency kit. Or if you don’t have a kit at all, now is the right time to assemble one. At a minimum, your kit should have:
- First-aid supplies
- Tools for changing a tire, plus a spare
- At least one gallon of water
- Non-perishable snacks
- Jumper cables
It’s also smart to get your car serviced before embarking on a long trip.
Road Construction Season
As you drive this summer, be aware that this is the time when most road repairs happen. A stretch of sunny weather without the threat of rain is the best time for road crews to do their work. Unfortunately, it’s also the best time for enjoying a nice drive.
Stay alert and always follow all signs from the construction crew. Each year, around 700 people are killed in auto accidents at road construction sites. Don’t become a statistic.