Summer time usually means vacations, trips to the beach, and drives to barbecues. Here are 5 summer driving tips to keep you and your family safe while out traveling this summer.
Beware of Glare
Longer days mean more sun and greater chance of glare. The sun can beat on the back window of the car before you and practically blind you. When the sun’s low in the sky it’s also shining directly in your eyes.
Sunglasses are an absolute necessity during the summer. They not only protect your eyes – they also improve visibility. Look for sunglasses with a UV400 rating, because they block UVA and UVB light for utmost protection.
Watch for Summer Drivers
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that August has the highest number of fatal car accidents and July has nearly as many.
The summer months bring out recreational vehicles, boats, and trailers. They tend to travel slower, take up more space, and they can cause traffic congestion. Some drivers only take these vehicles out a few times a year, so they don’t have much experience handling them.
On top of that, vacationers often do not know the roads they’re on. They can fail to signal their intentions, cut you off, or swerve as they read signs on the roadways. You need to be extra cautious and very patient.
There are also more teens driving when school finishes, and teens are the most likely to be in accident of all age groups.
Lookout for Extra Obstacles
Summertime is construction time in most areas. Traffic snarls, closed lanes, detours, and heavy duty vehicles can all frustrate you if you don’t plan your route. Check with the Department of Transportation and local traffic authorities and steer around obstacles to improve gas mileage and lighten your mood.
There will also be more children, bicycles, and motorcycles out and about. They’re not always easy to see, so be especially cautious near parks and beaches.
Prepare for the Heat
The hot summer months increase the chances of you, your passengers, or your vehicle’s engine overheating. Ensure your vehicle’s coolant is up to snuff and carry water with you should you have problems. Running your air conditioner strains the engine, so keep a watchful eye on the temperature gauge. Pull over and allow it to cool down if you see the gauge climbing.
Your tires should be in good shape, too. Hot weather causes the air inside them to expand. Consider replacing well-worn tires to avoid blowouts.
Don’t forget how heat affects people and pets, too. Don’t leave children or animals in a hot vehicle. They can succumb to heatstroke very quickly. Even when it is only 60 degrees outside, it can be up to 110 degrees in a vehicle, lethal for both children and pets.
Always park in a shaded area when possible and use windshield sunscreens to block the sunlight.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Don’t set out on a road trip unless you know your insurance protects you. State minimums are not sufficient and you could find yourself in a very scary situation if you have an accident, especially if you injure someone.
It only takes a few minutes to review your coverage with your agent. They can recommend what you’ll need for worry-free travel.
Take your time and stay calm. Summer months are busy, but they should be fun, too. Stick to the speed limit, plan your route, and take plenty of breaks. You’ll arrive at your destination safe and sound and enjoy every minute of your trip.