9,050 fatal motor vehicle crashes happened from June to August 2019, and 52 children died of vehicular heatstroke. As summer trips this year are restricted, many are turning from planes to cars to get out of town, leading to even more cars than ever before on the roads this summer. Though it’s impossible to completely avoid all mishaps, practicing road safety before, during, and after your drive, goes a long way in having a safe road trip.
Maintain Your Car
Perform regular maintenance, tune-ups, and battery checks. Remember that extreme heat can cause engines to overheat, which may affect your car’s performance and mechanical function.
Pay extra attention to your tire pressure and tread. Check your brakes, oil, coolant, and make sure that your car's cooling system is working properly. It’s not a bad idea to take your car to a shop for a full service tune-up at this time of year.
Keep it Cool
Make yourself comfortable before getting on the road by allowing your car to cool down. Open windows to let air circulate or run the air conditioner. If you can’t park in a garage or shaded area, use a sunshade to help keep the sun’s heat from blasting in.
Roads are filled with travelers heading out to their respective summer destinations. The heat, the excitement and stress of holiday, the loud kids and friends in the backseat, driving on new roads, it all leads to distracted drivers.
Keep your phone on silent while you're behind the wheel. Pull over to eat. Make your co-pilot hold the water bottle while you drink (from a reusable straw). Do whatever you need to ensure that your attention is fully focused on the road.
Never underestimate the power of water, especially when you're stuck in a traffic jam. The searing sun can make you feel more lethargic which can lead to heat exhaustion and fatigue.
Before heading out, make sure to pack insulated water bottles or freeze cold drinks and place them in coolers. These will come in handy when you need a sip of cold water.
Protect Your Eyes
Impaired vision is a common cause of accidents in the summer. The increased sun glare coming from the road can put stress on your eyes. This is particularly dangerous during early mornings and late evenings.
We suggest that you invest in a pair of polaroid glasses. They can help reduce fatigue and cut down glare, making it easier for you to see clearly.
Never Leave Kids or Pets in a Parked Car
Vehicles heat up quickly when parked in the sun. The temperature inside can rise to 200F in just 10 minutes. This is lethal, even with one of the windows rolled down and the engine running.
Therefore, make sure that no one is left inside the car when you get out of the car. If you see a parked vehicle with a child inside, immediately have the owner paged or call 911.
While you can't change the behavior of the people you're sharing the road with, you can control how you stay safe. It all depends on how you handle the situation. Keep these tips in mind and have a safer summer road trip.