Dave Deslauriers /
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Summer Driving Safety Tips

While most people associate the winter season with hazardous driving conditions, data shows that it’s actually the summer months that prove to be most dangerous.

With yesterday being the official summer solstice, what better time to discuss summer driving safety?

Beware summer storms

When thinking of inclement driving weather, snow, ice, and fog are often the first things that come to mind. However, according to the Federal Highway Administration, 73% of weather-related crashes are caused by wet pavement.

Matt Edmonds, VP of Tire Rack, offered these 5 tips to keep you safe when driving in those summer storms:

  • Tread Carefully – The tire’s tread pattern channels rainwater so your tire stays safely in contact with the road – but only if the tread is deep enough.
  • Seen and Be Seen – Turn on your headlights whenever you run your wipers to help other drivers see you through the rain and roadway mist.
  • Prepare Your Windshield – Make sure you can see where you’re going. A solution like Aquapel Glass Treatment can take the power of good windshield wipers even further. The solution increases water repellency by forming a long-lasting bond with the glass.
  • Slow Down – No matter how much tread is left on your tires, it’s always important to drive with caution in poor weather. Reduce your speed and maintain a safe stopping distance between you and other cars on the road.
  • Maintain Control – If hydroplaning occurs, grasp the steering wheel firmly to maintain control of your vehicle. Steer straight ahead and don’t slam on the brakes to help avoid skidding out of control.

Never Leave Pets or Children Unattended in a Vehicle

Did you know that on an 80 degree day, a vehicle’s internal temperature can reach a sweltering 114 degrees in a mere 20 minutes? In fact, each year over 30 children, and countless pets die in overheated vehicles.

Never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle, even if it’s “just for a few minutes”. The internal temperature of children increases 3-5 times faster than those of adults. Get in the habit of double checking both the front and back seats of your vehicle to ensure that no child or pet is left behind. Try putting an item that you need, like a phone or briefcase, in the back seat so that you’ll be forced to open the rear doors before leaving your vehicle.

Don’t let children play in an unattended vehicle. Be sure to keep your vehicle locked and keys out of reach. If you see a child or animal alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately and follow their instructions.

Share the Road

When the weather gets nice, the toys come out of the garage and the roads see an influx of motorcyclists and bicyclists going for a summer cruise. So with all of those additional obstacles, it’s imperative to exercise caution and remember to share the road with your two-wheeled counterparts.

Julie Lee, Vice President and National Director, AARP Driver Safety, recommends the following safety tips:

  • Increase your following distance to four seconds or more when behind motorcycles.
  • Constantly scan the roadway in front, to the rear, and to the sides of your vehicle for motorcyclists and bicyclists.
  • Never share lanes with motorcycles, as they also have use of the complete traffic lane.

Maintain Your Tires

The importance of properly maintaining your tires can not be overstated. After all, they’re the only part of your vehicle touching the ground.

If you’re still sporting your winter tires, it’s time to swap them out. Compared to all-season tires, winter tires are made with a softer compound, and contain deeper grooves and sharper edges that are specially designed to perform in colder temperatures. The traction and handling of winter tires is significantly diminished in warm weather, making evasive maneuvers more difficult and requiring a longer stopping distance.

Rubber also tends to wear off more quickly when hot. So if your tires are bald and the temperature is hot, you’re risking flats, hydroplaning, and even blowouts.  If you stick the quarter upside down into the tread of your tire, and no part of George Washington’s head is covered, it’s time to replace that tire.

Also, be sure to mind your tires’ pounds per square inch (PSI) levels. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving on over or under-inflated tires dramatically increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Hot weather also causes air to expand, and thus can result in tires over-inflating. Be sure to refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the proper inflation levels for your tires.

Use Caution in Construction Zones

Summer time isn’t just for BBQ’s and beach trips. For those in the construction industry, summer means a heavy work load. Unfortunately, increased construction also bring with it increased risks for drivers.

According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, 2015 saw 700 driving fatalities occur in work zones, up from 669 the year prior.

So when you’re out on the road this summer, be sure to pay special attention to any posted construction signs. It just may save your life and the life of others.

 

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