Summer Driving Tips

The warmest season is finally here and Canadians are ready to embrace it. Whether you head out to the beach, cottage, or family vacation, drive carefully as more vehicles will be on the road now.

For many of us, summertime usually means vacation travel and that means more time spent outside, such as summer road trips, more evening and weekend activities, no school for youths, and longer hours of sunlight.

Snow, rain, and ice are common cold-weather threats to driver safety, but summer brings with it its own set of dangers. For drivers, the added traffic of summer vacationers is just part of the increased risk-construction, sun glare and unpredictable weather patterns all add to the danger. While many people believe that cautious driving is more important in the winter, the truth is many accidents still occur in the spring and summer, when temperatures and road conditions are at their best.

Summer is the best season for a long road trip. So, here are some helpful tips to consider for your trip. Prevention and planning may take a little time up front but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown or worse yet, a highway crash later. This summer, stay safe as you’re hitting the road. Follow these tips to avoid hot weather hazards and keep your summer driving along smoothly.

  1. Prepare for warm weather. Overheating can cause serious summer breakdowns. Inspect the radiator, pressure cap, belts, and hoses to make sure they are in good shape with no signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber.
  2. Hydrate your vehicle. Keep your vehicle hydrated by checking your fluid levels, brake, automatic transmission, power steering, windshield washer, and coolant. Make sure each reservoir is full and if you see any sign of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced.
  3. Just slow down. Hot weather simply puts a higher load on your vehicle, so pushing it to drive at high speeds can wear it down even further. Drive the speed limit to reduce the wear on your vehicle and practice safe driving habits at the same time.
  4. Beware of the glare. The sun is going to make it difficult to see straight ahead, in your rear-view mirrors, or through your windows. Make sure you don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Leave yourself room for sudden merges or braking. Take full advantage of sunglasses and the driver seat visor.
  5. Check your air conditioning. Check A/C performance before traveling. Lack of air conditioning on a hot summer day affects people who are in poor health or who are sensitive to heat, such as children and older adults.
  6. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge. If your vehicle’s temperature gauge starts to tick up out of control, you need to get help, as your engine is at risk of overheating. Pull over to a shop as soon as possible, if you can’t do it immediately, consider turning on your vehicle’s heater, as it will take some of the heat away from the engine and potentially save your engine from failure. If your gauge is in or near the red zone, you have to stop driving, as your engine is overheated.
  7. Don’t drink and drive. It’s simple if you drink don’t drive. While summer is a time for enjoying picnics and patios, you should never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Plan ahead, arrange to have a designated driver, take a cab to your destination or stay over if you have to. Remember, drinking and driving are never an option.
  8. Pay attention to weather forecasts. Depending on what part of the country you are in, your summer weather patterns could include thunderstorms, downpours that result in flash flooding, tornados, and more. These often can happen with little to no warning, so make sure you know the forecast for the area you’re driving each day, and check in periodically just to be certain nothing has changed.
  9. Clean your windshield. Clean any debris inside and out, and replace worn wiper blades.
  10. Remember your oil change. Oil changes are important for year-round maintenance, but clean oil is particularly important during the summer. Oil helps your vehicle prevent overheating, and lubricating moving parts safely.
  11. Tire check. Your tires are one of the most common causes of vehicle breakdowns, so make sure to check the air pressure in all tires, including the spare. Ensure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver’s side door frame.
  12. Battery check. Intense heat can cause just as much havoc on your vehicle’s battery as the frigid cold. So, check battery life, and inspect batteries and battery cables. If your battery is older than three years, have a professional test your vehicle battery and replace it.
  13. Check your lights. Make sure your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working properly. If you have kids, teach them about road safety by involving them in the process.
  14. Brake checks. Winter conditions take a toll on your vehicle’s brakes, so you need to be vigilant about making sure they are spring and summer ready.
  15. Look out for more than just cars. Drivers have to share the roads with a lot more than just other cars during the summer months. Better weather and longer days attract far more tractors, caravans, cyclists, and walkers. Therefore, it’s important to remain alert when driving along country lanes in particular and to avoid any risks when overtaking that could cause an accident. Motorcyclists appear more often too, thus always look twice to ensure you are aware of what’s around you.
  16. Avoid distractions. With more activities to do in summer, friends and family may be texting or calling you to see if you are on your way. Put down the phone. Don’t take your eyes off the road to fix your hair or touch up your make-up. Wait until you’re safely parked before you turn your attention to non-driving tasks to avoid an accident.
  17. Ensure you have plenty of rest. Always avoid driving when you are fatigued, especially in the summer months as heat and sun can make some drowsy.
  18. Children and pet safety. Follow the directions on all car seats for your children to keep them secured in their ride. This goes for your pets too, be sure they don’t roam around the vehicle. Parents should also remember that cars can get very hot in the summer and are prone to heatstroke, therefore neither children nor pets should be left alone in the car even if the engine is running and the air conditioning is blasting forth cold air.
  19. Pack an emergency roadside kit. Whether you buy a pre-assembled kit or create your own, it should include a few essentials like flashlights, jumper cables, a working jack cellphone battery charger, water, and non-perishable food.
  20. Clean out your vehicle. Summer heat can melt or explode items in your vehicle that were once fine until your car’s interior reaches triple digits. Disposable lighters, batteries, and aerosol cans can be a hazard in a hot car. You should also watch out for messy items like chocolates and crayons.

Driving in hot weather, especially heatwave conditions can pose significant challenges and risks to the health and safety of drivers, passengers, and passers-by alike. That’s why we’ve compiled these summer driving tips to help you stay safe and cool on the roads this summer. No matter where you are going on your road trip, we hope these tips will help you get there safe and sound.

If you think your vehicle can’t beat the heat this summer, maybe we can help in getting you a new one! Edmonton Auto Loans can help you with the financing of your new vehicle. You can secure a vehicle from the comfort of your home through our online application and we can even deliver the vehicle to your doorstep. Get approved here! We will make sure to get you into the vehicle that’s perfect for your summer road trip. So, don’t think twice and rely on our service now. Wherever you are in Edmonton, we can assist you!

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