Summer is just around the corner, and while you won’t be dealing with winter’s snow and ice or spring’s torrential rain, this sizzling season comes with its own driving dangers. We’ve compiled a list of five summer driving tips to help you and your family safely enjoy the warmer weather.
- Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. When the sun comes out, so do the pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, not all drivers are prepared to share the road: pedestrian traffic fatalities represent almost 60 percent of annual traffic deaths. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation offers many tips to help drivers safely share the road, such as driving slowly through any area where children may be walking or playing, especially school zones and residential areas.
- Service your tires. Heat causes your tires to expand, meaning they can become over-inflated. Driving on over-inflated tires put you at risk for premature wear, poor handling and traction, overheating, and blowouts. You can find your vehicle’s optimal tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on a sticker inside your door jam. If you think your tires are over-inflated, it’s better to consult a professional than to release the air yourself, since you might end up with the opposite but equally dangerous problem of under-inflated tires.
- Prepare for summer weather. Clear summer skies might not seem as dangerous as snow and rain, but you still need to be prepared for high temperatures and blazing sunshine. Never leave an animal or child unattended in your car, which can be twice as warm on the inside as it is outside, and can cause serious damage in just a few minutes. Even when you’re driving with the air condition blasting, the glare of the sun can obscure your vision, making it harder for you to see and avoid obstacles. Keep a pair of spare sunglasses in your car and use your sun visor to block the rays. A clean windshield will also cut down the glare.
- Create a long weekend driving plan. There is a reason police officers are out in full force during the summer long weekends: vacation-happy drivers are dangerous. In one driving blitz last July, one regional police force nabbed 26 impaired drivers and 126 distracted drivers over a seven-day stretch. A traffic ticket will do more than ruin your weekend, it will also raise your car insurance premiums for up to three years. If you have a summer road trip on the books, create a driving plan before you head out the door. Be realistic about travel times, split driving duties with your passengers, put your phone away while you’re in the car, and don’t get behind the wheel if you’re still feeling the effects of last night’s drinks.
- Prevent overheating. You’re not the only one that can overheat in the summer – your car is also at risk in the extreme temperatures. You know your car is way too hot if you’re seeing steam pouring out of the hood of your car, smelling an unusual odour coming from your engine, or noticing the needle on your temperature gauge pointing towards hot. You can prevent overheating by keeping your radiator in tip-top shape. This includes topping it up with fresh coolant, making sure it is clear of dirt and debris, and ensuring your radiator cap is in good condition.
By following these key safety tips, you’ll be better prepared to enjoy summer road trips and family drives to the beach!