Summer Safety Tips
Overheated cooling systems, burned transmissions, and tire problems can leave you and your vehicle stranded. A few simple at-home inspections, like checking your engine oil and tire pressure, can locate potential problems. For other inspections, such as checking the brakes, belts, and hoses, or inspecting exhaust systems, many repair shops offer a vehicle inspection service.
For the best fuel economy and handling, your tire pressure should be maintained close to the maximum indicated on the door pillar or glove box. Check the pressure at least once a month and before heading out for your vacation. Remember that as the temperature outside goes up and down so does your tire pressure.
When packing your vehicle for your trip ensure that any loose objects are stored in the trunk. If you are in a situation where you have to brake hard, loose objects become projectiles, which can injure or kill as they fly around in your vehicle.
Some of the places we drive to in summer can be remote and rugged. This becomes more significant if your car breaks down. Pack your trunk with a bottle of sunscreen, insect repellent containing Deet, and a couple of factory-sealed bottles of water.
Reading a map while driving is distracting. So plan your route in advance and make a list of street/highway names or landmarks where you need to turn. Listen to a traffic report before you leave. The time of day will also affect how much time you will need to get to your destination. Feeling pressured to make it to your destination on time can be a distraction and may cause you to make inappropriate driving decisions, which can lead to serious injuries. Never follow and never lead another driver to your destination. Avoid the distraction by meeting them there.
Buckle your seat belt ensuring the latch is firmly in place. Adjust the lap belt so that it fits around the front of your pelvis with the webbing lying across the top of your thighs. Pull up on the shoulder belt to tighten the lap belt and ensure it fits snugly. Make sure the shoulder belt retracts so that it also fits snugly across your chest and over your shoulder. Common misuses of seat belts are placing the lap belt across the abdomen instead of the hips. Placing the shoulder belt under the arm or having the lap or shoulder belt slack. This can lead to serious injuries.
Read both the car seat manufacturer's and your car owner's manual to ensure correct installation of a child’s car seat. The car seat must be appropriate for your child's height and weight.
When traveling with children be sure that they are properly buckled in. Make certain that they have things to keep them occupied and to prevent them from distracting the driver. It is also a good idea to pull into rest areas for a bathroom break every two hours, to have a snack, and to let them run around to expend energy.
Some gravel roads become worn into a washboard like surface, which may cause your wheels to "skip" and your car, may dance sideways if you are going too fast. Reduce speed and drive smoothly, just as you would on ice or snow.
When the weather conditions are less than ideal and it takes longer to stop, you need to increase your following distance and adjust your speed accordingly.
One of the leading causes of road rage is drivers who block the passing lane (left lane) while driving slower than traffic in that lane. The law requires us to keep right unless passing.
When we accelerate from 50km/h in the city to 100km/h on the freeway, it initially feels like we’re going very fast. After a few minutes, it feels normal. That’s velocitization. It makes driving on the freeway less scary and makes it easier to go with the flow of traffic. However, when we drop down to 80km/h to enter the next exit we feel as if we are going very slow even though we’re likely entering the exit ramp curve way too fast. Avoid this problem by checking the ramp speed warning signs and glancing at the speedometer.
The grooves of a conventional tire are designed to channel water away. Without grooves, water will accumulate between the tire and the road surface and reduce friction. If the water is deep enough, the grooves shallow enough, and the tire pressure low enough, the tire will lose all contact with the road and glide along on top of a layer of water. This is called hydroplaning or aquaplaning. While the vehicle is hydroplaning it is impossible to brake, accelerate, or steer.
Driving when you are tired is very dangerous. It reduces your ability to drive effectively. Your reaction time is slower, awareness is decreased, and judgment is impaired. Be sure that you are well rested before you get behind the wheel. If you are traveling a long distance, stop at least every two hours. Pull into a rest area and take a 15-minute break.
Whenever possible, use your high beams at night. When you switch to low beams for approaching vehicles put them back up just as the approaching vehicle is passing. This is the worst time for you to spot a problem.