Of the many great things about driving in summer, few match the fun of a family road trip. Before you hook up that new boat or camper, or hit the road with your family or friends in your car, SUV, pickups, or RV, take the time to review these summer driving essential tips.
Here are eight top tips for safe driving this summer.
1. Remember to always top up your fluids/maintain your vehicle
The last thing you want during your summer road trip is a vehicle breakdown. To mitigate the chances of a breakdown, change the oil and oil filter, top off your washer fluid, make sure your tires have enough tread and be sure the tires are set to the proper tire pressure. If it’s been several years, you also will want to get new wiper blades, flush the coolant system and perhaps replace the engine’s belts and hoses.
2. Keep hydrated when driving in summer
Driving in the summer requires you to keep hydrated when stuck in a long traffic jam under the sun. Take plenty of cold water with you before heading out on longer journeys – enough for you and all of your passengers.
3. Drink responsibly
A very important summer essential driving tip: if you are imbibing in alcohol do not drive. Before heading out to a summer social event, consider how you are going to get home. Don’t drink if you’re driving and find another method of transport if you want to drink. This way you can enjoy the hot weather without putting yours and other people’s lives at risk.
4. Start with a cool car
If you’ve ever driven in a hot car for an extended amount of time yyou know exactly how important your car’s air-conditioning system is to retaining your sanity during a summer road trip. Get it inspected before departure.
5. Be on the lookout for more than just cars
It’s the summer which means there will be more people outside walking, running or biking. They might not be paying much attention as they’re enjoying the sunshine. As a driver, your job is to watch out for them.
Along your travels in the summer you may also encounter large trucks. It is dangerous for motorists to travel unnecessarily in lanes adjacent to large trucks. Either pass the truck or tuck in behind it.
6. Be aware of pets
Too many people still think it is okay to leave their dog in the car during the summer. The OSPCA says that if it’s 22 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees within one hour, which can lead to heart-breaking consequences. Even parking in shade or leaving the windows down does not make the car a safe place for a dog in summer. So unless you can take your dog with you wherever you go, leave it at home.
7. Carry an emergency roadside assistance kit
Despite all of the proper planning, your vehicle still could break down during your road trip. You could happen upon fellow motorists who require immediate assistance, as well. For these reasons, carrying an emergency roadside assistance when driving in summer kit is important. You’ll be able to find a variety of options online. At a minimum, experts recommend having first-aid supplies, a hazard triangle or warning flares for when your car is stuck at the side of the road, a can of tire sealant, jumper cables, a flashlight with fresh batteries and a pair of gloves. If you’re traveling off-road or in lightly populated areas, it is also wise to carry warm clothing, food and water.
8. Check all functions of your car to ensure it’s up to working order
Tires: Your car’s tires are among the most important contributors to vehicle safety. Before taking a long trip it is important to inspect them for wear or damage. If they are worn due to age, tire pressure neglect or a bad alignment, you’ll need to replace them. It’s costly, but can save your life.
Before setting off on your summer road trip, make sure all your car’s lights work. They’re all important, so ask for help as you cycle through the headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, hazard flashers and reversing lights.