Beat the Heat: Summer Safety Tips
School is still out and a wide range of people are outdoors enjoying the warmer weather. As a result, summer is filled with unique challenges for drivers. Below is a list of tips to make your time behind the wheel more efficient, safer and mindful:
Prepare Your Vehicle
An hour of prepping your truck now may save you from hours stuck on the side of the road with a big repair bill. Test your lights, wipers and clean the windows inside and out. It’s also a good idea to inspect your truck’s engine, battery, hoses, belts and fluids for wear and proper levels.
It’s important to pay attention to tires in the summertime; perhaps even more than in the winter months. Under inflation can cost you fuel economy as well as increase safety risks.
- Check tire pressure, as under inflated tires are less fuel efficient and have increased tendency for blow-outs. It’s also important to look for uneven or excessive tread wear.
- An easy approach is to place a quarter upside down in a tire groove. The distance from the coin’s rim to George Washington’s hairline is about 4/32 inch.
Driving in the Heat
It’s hot outside, but even hotter inside a vehicle. When it’s 90 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise another 20 degrees within 10 minutes. A few solutions:
- Reduce the amount of sunlight coming in through the windows to minimize heat buildup. Park in the shade, if possible, and if not, put a sunshade in the windshield.
- When parking in a secure area and skies are clear, lower each window an inch or two to provide extra ventilation.
Be Aware of Weather
Summer brings some of the most severe storms with it, and in the blink of an eye. Always check the weather forecast before beginning a route to avoid getting caught off-guard by a thunderstorm or worse. If possible, change routes to avoid severe weather.
Share the Road
Warmer weather attracts a wider variety of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. While they have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every motorist, these users are more vulnerable because they do not have the protection of a car or truck.
- Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle. About 3-4 seconds worth. Motorcycles are much lighter than trucks and can stop in much shorter distances.
- Use your signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Don’t assume pedestrians can see you, or that they will act predictably. They may be distracted or physically impaired.
- Be especially attentive around schools and neighborhood.
- Drive the way you want people to drive in front of your own home.
Be Cautious in Work Zones
Most roadwork is performed during summer months. The danger of potentially hitting a worker is reason enough to be careful. Additionally, fines for speeding and violations are often doubled or tripled in work zones. It’s important to be careful and alert.
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