Hello, summer! I’m ready for some heat. But what about my vehicle?
As the first official day of summer approaches – Tuesday, June 21 – and I begin to think about an upcoming family vacation, I find myself making a safety checklist. You can use this list as a guide to help your coworkers, loved ones and friends prepare for travel, too.
Are they worn or improperly inflated? Hot temperatures can contribute to tire blowouts.
- Be sure to keep a spare in your vehicle and make sure it is properly inflated
- Using the built-in wear indicators, replace tires with uneven or excessive wear
- Drive around potholes when possible
Here are some simple things you can do on your own between full-service maintenance visits to keep your engine running smoothly:
- Fill your engine coolant, and check hoses and belts for signs of blisters, cracks and wear
- Check your oil level or change your oil following vehicle manufacturer instructions
- Consider packing extra coolant or oil in your vehicle’s trunk or storage compartment
- Pull over immediately if your engine is overheating
Slow down and take in the sights. You’re on vacation!
- Drive the speed limit to reduce wear on your vehicle; hot weather can tax your engine
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle; be sure it includes water and a phone charger
- Map your route and set your GPS before you depart, and allow time for breaks to rest and eat
- Be sure to start the trip well rested
More people are out walking in summer months, and many of them are distracted. Be on the lookout.
- Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks
- Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk
More people ride bikes in the summer, too, whether for exercise and recreation, or to and from work to save on fuel costs. Bicycles have a low profile and riders can be difficult to see.
- Give bicyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing
- Be aware when getting in or out of a parked car; you don’t want to open the door and knock a bicycle rider off course
- Understand bicycle rules and share the road; it’s for everyone to use
Road construction increases in the summer. Be alert for lane closures and shifts. Obey all signs, and watch out for workers.
- Sunglasses aren’t just a cool accessory; they prevent the sun’s glare from interfering with your vision
- Never drink and drive
- Summer can bring severe storms and flooding – even a small rainfall can make roads slippery – so be sure to check weather conditions before heading out
- Check your windshield wipers; the sun is hard on them, and you don’t want to get caught in a rainstorm with bad wipers
- Never leave a child or a pet inside a parked vehicle for any amount of time; a vehicle can heat to deadly temperatures within minutes.
While you are vacationing, be reminded that the summer heat can take a toll on your body – and your vehicle. Have fun and be safe.
– DeAnn Crane is a program manager with the National Safety Council