According to esurance, the summer is amongst the most dangerous times to drive. Several factors can increase congestion and the rate of collisions in the summer months. Teens on break from high school and college will add to the usual traffic and are disproportionately involved in accidents because of their inexperience. Vacationers on road trips can be dangerous because they’re unfamiliar with their surroundings. The heat can lead to agitated drivers, who also tend to be unsafe. Summer road construction can lead to atypical conditions like lane changes and abrupt decreases in traffic speed. Heat can add to wear and tear on automobiles. Expanding tires may be more likely to blow out. Take some time to be proactive about safe summer driving now to protect yourself, your family, and others on the road.
What You Can Do Ahead of Time
Keeping your car properly maintained can make all the difference in the world. As noted above, the heat can impact your tire pressure, so be sure to check your tires regularly. Keep at least four quarters in your car so you can fill your tires if necessary. Make sure you have a spare tire in your car and you know how to change a tire correctly and safely. Double check that you have a working jack and wrench in the car as well.
Other regular maintenance like oil changes can help your engine handle the summer heat. Don’t forget to check other essential fluids, too. Your mechanic would likely be happy to check these when you go in for your oil change. Test your lights, including your brake lights and turn signals, once a week. This is essential for safe driving and can be done in just a few seconds if you have a passenger with you. Checking regularly will also keep you from finding out the hard way as an officer writes you a citation.
Keep your car stocked with some essential items. Have an extra bottle of water in the car. If you’re stuck in traffic because of construction or an accident, you don’t want to be without water while you wait. A pair of sunglasses will also come in handy. Drivers with the sun in their eyes are less able to avoid collisions, and glare can be unpredictable. Sunglasses remove this danger while also keeping your eyes healthy. Finally, store a set of jumper cables in your vehicle. They don’t take up much space and can save you a big headache if your car doesn’t start. Plus, you can be the hero if you come across another driver with a dead battery. Jump-starting a vehicle can be tricky, so make sure you know how to use jumper cables safely.
While You Drive
Watch your temperature gauge. An overheating engine can be a serious problem. If you see the gauge indicate overheating, pull over as quickly as possible. If you are unable to get to the shoulder because of road conditions, turn your heater on high. This will pull heat away from your engine and can help minimize damage.
Wear your seat belt every single time. According to the CDC, seat belts reduce deaths and serious injuries in car accidents by half. This is one of the easiest, most important things you can do to stay safe. Stay focused on the road. Don’t let food, beverages, passengers, GPS, or your phone become a distraction. Give driving your full attention so you can safely navigate any unexpected obstacles.
Don’t drive intoxicated. Keep in mind that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can be a great way to get home safely after consuming alcohol. Also be aware that other drivers may be intoxicated, especially after dark and especially around major holidays. Drive alertly and defensively.
If you are in an accident this summer, take our four steps to protect yourself. Then contact The Rhine Law Firm, LLC for help protecting your rights and interests.