Driving Safely During Summer Trips
Most people worry about the dangers of winter driving, which is why they wait until the summer to take vacations. However, summer driving has its own unique problems that you need to take into consideration. The following summer driving tips help make sure that you and your family are safe.
Summerizing Your Vehicle
Winterizing helps keep your vehicle running smoothly during the winter, but what about summerizing? This process ensures that your car won't heat up excessively during the hottest summer months. It also helps you avoid blown tires and flats. It requires a few simple checks, including:
- Inspecting your radiator for rots or leaks
- Refilling anti-freeze
- Flushing radiator
- Checking cooling system belts and hoses for breaks and frays
- Testing brakes on warm pavement
- Removing snow tires and replacing with summer tires
- Inflating or deflating tires to their proper PSI
- Testing tread depth to ensure it's over 3/32-inch thick
The reason you need to check and adjust the pressure of your tires is the effect temperature changes have on their interior temperature. As it heats up, the air is liable to expand. This may cause bulges or weak spots in your tires.
However, if your summer tires have been sitting in a garage all winter, there's also the chance that they've bled out a little air.
Teens And Vacationers Are On The Road
You're not the only person excited about summer vacations: just about everyone else you know is looking forward to some time off. That includes teens with fresh new licenses and thousands, if not millions, of them will be on the road this summer.
Perhaps that's why August almost always has the highest number of fatal car accidents. To avoid that danger, follow these guidelines:
- Be patient – teen drivers often lack that ability
- Follow driving laws to set an example
- Check your blind spots regularly
- Pull over if you are being tail-gated – it's likely an impatient teen who may pass at a dangerous moment
- Take side roads instead of main drags – it might add time to your trip, but less drivers will be present
Road Construction Summertime Blues
Summer road construction is often a disheartening problem, as excessive construction can often add hours to your trips. It may also cause you to become impatient and drive too fast in construction zones. This is a risk you shouldn't take, as many states have very strict laws to punish people breaking driving laws in construction zones.
You're also putting the health of hard-working construction workers at risk. If you're worried about running into construction zones on freeways, try alternative routes. Again, it might add an extra hour or two to your trip, but it can help you avoid these annoyances.
Keeping Your Air Conditioning Working
In the severe heat of the summer, air conditioning is often a life-saver. Even driving with the windows down can leave an interior temperature of over 90 degrees, making it easy to feel dehydrated and dizzy. It may even cause you to drive erratically or pass out. When the summer starts heating up, have your air conditioning unit inspected.
What will the mechanics check? Basically, they'll ensure that your system has Freon (the chemical that cools the air) and also make sure that the belt that attaches your system to the rest of the vehicle is in order. This belt is more crucial than you'd think, as it often helps the water pump work.
Follow these tips and your summer driving experience will be safe and exciting. Remember: even though there's no ice on the ground, trips during the summer can be dangerous if not undertaken properly.