Summer is fast approaching. This new season is a time when many families get in their cars for beach trips and family vacations.
School is also out during summer. This means that will be more teenage motorists on the road going to work at summer jobs, spending quality time with friends and taking summer break road trips.
The added traffic of summer motorists and vacationers, unfortunately, increases the likelihood of road accidents. A report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that summer and autumn are dangerous seasons for drivers, with July and August (two summer months) being the deadliest.
When you're traveling on the road this summer, remember that safety comes first.
Here are five tips that all motorists should observe to stay safe and arrive alive during this season:
Prepare Your Car for Summer Driving
The last thing you want to happen on the road is for your car to break down in the middle of a hot, sunny day. You can prevent breakdowns by conducting periodic maintenance on your car, including:
- Air conditioning maintenance
- Wiper blade replacement
- Fluid refills
- Oil changes
You should also make sure to check your tires, as there's an increased risk of tire blowouts due to increased mileage and higher temperatures. Check if your vehicle has properly inflated tires.
Also, find out if the tires in your car are properly balanced. If you're unsure how to fix this, take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic who can use an automotive wheel balancer in their garage. While you're at the service shop, ask the mechanic if there's anything else in need of repair. This is important, especially if you're planning to take a long road trip.
Avoid Distracted Driving
When you're driving, you should always focus your attention on the road. This is the best way to avoid vehicular accidents on busy highways and streets.
When you're at the wheel, make sure you avoid the following distractions:
- GPS Device - You need to program your car's GPS before you start driving. If you forgot to do this and you're already on the road, have a passenger do this for you. If you're driving alone, pull over at a safe spot and configure your destination. Never attempt to program this device while you're driving.
- Conversations and Arguments with Passengers - This includes arguments with kids in the vehicle. If you need to have a serious discussion with anyone in the car, pull over. Also, if you don't want your kids to bother you, bring games and toys to keep your little ones entertained.
- Food and Beverage - Never attempt to quench your thirst or fill your belly while driving. If you need to eat something or rehydrate because of the heat, pull over or make your way to the nearest stop, gas station or diner.
- Mobile Phones - While you're behind the wheel, never pull out your phone to check your social media, make calls or answer the text. These activities can significantly raise the likelihood of a vehicular crash. If you have to make a call or send a text, ask a passenger to do that or pull over.
Take Care of Your Eyes
Driving can be difficult on the eyes, especially during summer. You can expect the sun to be out in full force. The glare coming off-road objects and other vehicles may impede your vision.
So make sure that you buy and wear a good pair of polarized sunglasses. These aren't just cool-looking summer accessories. They can cut down painful glare and protect your eyes from fatigue and damage.
Pay Attention to Weather Forecasts
Depending on your location, the summer weather patterns could include raging thunderstorms, torrential downpours and tornadoes. Some of these weather events can happen with little to no warning. So, make sure you check the forecast on your local weather channel or by going to reliable weather forecast sites.
Avoid Driving When You're Fatigued
When you're taking a road trip late at night or early in the morning, you should have enough energy to get to your destination safely.
Schedule your trip wisely. Refrain from driving during hours when you're typically exhausted or drowsy. If you failed to get a good night's rest the night before your road trip, have someone else drive your vehicle.
If you're beginning to close your eyes while you're behind the wheel, do not power through the fatigue. This raises the risk of getting into an accident or colliding with another vehicle. Instead, let someone else drive. If you're alone, pull over and find a safe place to take a nap. If you come across a hotel or a rest stop, stay the night there and continue your journey in the morning.
Don't let preventable accidents ruin your summer road trips. Avoid the consequences of a breakdown - or worse - a potentially deadly highway crash.