Summertime Drive to Safety
No season drives home the importance of auto safety more than summer--prime time for driving and for road construction. Add the variables of intense heat and sudden rainstorms, and you’ve got greater potential for hazardous driving conditions.
Of course, you can’t control traffic, road repairs, or the weather, but there’s plenty you can do--with your car, its occupants, as well as your trip preparation--that can contribute to safe summer driving.
You can prevent many breakdowns by taking your vehicle to a qualified mechanic in advance. It’s also wise to give the car a once-over yourself before your trip. Pay particular attention to:
- Tires--Check for proper inflation, excessive or uneven wear, and the condition of the spare.
- Fluids--Top off the levels and check occasionally.
- Belts and hoses--Watch for signs of wear.
- Battery--Test it.
- Brakes--Get them inspected.
- Emergency kit--Pack a flashlight, jumper cables, first-aid kit, blanket, extra water, mobile phone, and warning devices.
- Wipers--Replace blades that don’t clear the windshield.
- Headlights, taillights, brake lights, signal light--See that they work.
The Driver and Passengers
The objective is to make everyone comfortable and secure so that the driver can focus on driving. Specific considerations:
- Rest--Make sure the driver(s) will be alert.
- Restraints--Buckle up everyone; place children in appropriate seats in the back.
- Minimize distractions--Bring games, books, music, and snacks to occupy younger travelers; let a passenger navigate and use the cell phone.
- Keep hydrated--Drink plenty of water.
- Take breaks--Stop every couple of hours to refresh everyone, refuel, check the oil, and get more water.
Anticipation plays a key role in safety. That’s why it pays to call ahead, use the internet, or check with an auto club to find out about traffic and road closures, and weather scenarios into which you’ll be driving.
For updates while you travel, tune your car radio to a station that provides regular weather and traffic reports. And if you can’t avoid such conditions, be mindful of how to drive in them. Some tips:
- Construction--Slow down and expect sudden stops, obey signs and signals, and watch out for construction workers and equipment.
- Rainstorms--Slow down and increase following distances, use windshield wipers, defrosters, low-beam headlights, and avoid standing water.
- Traffic--Maintain safe speeds and following distances, avoid others’ blind spots, use your signals, and keep calm.
Copyright 2013 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.