As summer arrives, roads become congested with vacation traffic, teen drivers out on summer vacation, cyclists, and pedestrians. An increase of traffic, along with the addition of inexperienced drivers, may explain why July and August have the most instances of deadly crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you are planning to hit the road this summer, these statistics may be troubling to you; however, there are a few tips you can keep in mind as you head out onto the highway.
1. Have Your Tires Checked and Rotated
Your cars tires can wear quickly in hot weather for several reasons. High temperatures are usually the main culprit, as they can cause your tires to expand and increase the risk of a blowout. Pavement temperatures are another, as they can rise well into the triple digits, especially if you are driving in states such as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Having your tires checked before you hit the road for an extended trip can prevent sudden blowouts and clue you in about their overall condition. Your tire technician may suggest having your tires rotated so they wear evenly or have one or more of them replaced if they are already worn, as they could be more prone to blowouts as the weather gets warmer.
2. Use a Safe Driving App
Texting or otherwise using your phone while driving can have deadly results, and even if you know better, glancing at your phone when a notification goes off is probably habit. However, taking your eyes off the road for even a moment can cause a crash, so disabling your phone with a safe driving app is a wise choice. Many of these apps are available for both iOS and Android platforms, such as the AT&T Drive Mode system. This app auto-replies to texts and phone calls and allows you one-touch access to music, apps, and Bluetooth features.
3. Pack an Emergency Kit
No matter where you drive during the summer, having an emergency kit on hand can help you handle unexpected vehicle breakdowns. Even if you are not far from home, a hot summer day can make having car trouble a misery. It is wise to carry a bottle of water with you when you driveand keep a kit packed with non-perishable snacks, an extra phone charger and power block, first aid items, a flashlight, extra batteries, and booster cables. In the event of a breakdown, being prepared can keep you safe and comfortable until help arrives.
4. Take Time to Shop for a Car
If you want to get a good car for your next road trip, taking the time to shop well before the summer arrives can help you find the best vehicle for your needs. Some of todays vehicles have a variety of high-tech safety features, such as automatic braking, rear-facing cameras, and sensors that warn you if you leave your traffic lane. Choosing a vehicle with some or all of these features might help to make any road trip safer.
As you shop for a new car, it may help to have a list of questions ready for the dealership salespeople so you can learn as much as possible about car safety features and which models might best suit your road trip needs. For example, if you will be traveling with young children, you might want to ask about the crash test ratings and built-in child safety features of each car you look at. Giving yourself plenty of time to shop can give you peace of mind later on as you travel.
5. Slow Down for Construction Zones
Construction workers are at great risk of being struck by speeding vehicles as they work to repair city streets and highways. Slowing down around construction zones is not only a safe driving practice, but it may also be the law in many states. You can also reduce the risk of injury to yourself and your passengers by driving slowly around traffic cones, concrete barriers, and in narrow lanes. You can consult your local highway department about where you might encounter current construction sites.
Summer driving includes many risks that make it a potentially dangerous time to be out on the roads. However, keeping a few safety tips in mind and doing your best to stay focused can help you reach your destination safely.