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Summer Driving Tips

Navigating the Heat: Essential Safe Driving Tips for Summer

Summer is full of road trips, vacations, and adventures on the open road. But with longer days, increased travel, and scorching temperatures, it's crucial to prioritize safe driving practices (to avoid accidents).

By taking some preventative measures and remaining vigilant behind the wheel, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable summer journey. Below, we outline some important summer driving safety tips:

  • Pre-Drive Vehicle Readiness:
    • Meticulous maintenance. Extreme summer heat can wreak havoc on your car. Schedule a routine maintenance check to ensure optimal performance. Focus on critical components like the cooling system, tires (including proper inflation and tread depth), and fluid levels (oil, brake fluid).
    • Road trip readiness. Before embarking on a long trip, perform a thorough inspection of your vehicle. Check all lights, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights. You should also make sure your car's ventilation and air conditioning or windows work well.
  • Packing for Safety:
    • Emergency kit. Be prepared for unforeseen situations. Consider having an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, a whistle, a road atlas or GPS (with up-to-date maps), and non-perishable snacks and water.
  • Planning for a Safe Journey:
    • Weather wise. Check the weather forecast before you hit the road. Be aware of potential hazards like thunderstorms, heavy rain, or excessive heat that could impact driving conditions.
    • Map it out. Plan your route in advance, considering rest stops and alternative routes in case of traffic delays or road closures. Utilize GPS navigation, but always have a physical map as a backup.
    • Pack light, drive, light. Avoid overloading your vehicle. Excess weight can decrease fuel efficiency and strain the engine, impacting handling and braking performance.
  • Optimum Driving Practices:
    • Hydration is key. Dehydration can negatively affect your cognitive function and reaction time, so you should stay hydrated by consuming plenty of water throughout your trip. Avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine, which can lead to dehydration. Charleston summers can often be hot, and this year, we have been experiencing excessive heat. In more extreme temperatures, hydration is even more important.
    • Beat the heat. Dress in loose, comfortable clothing made from breathable fabrics. Utilize your car's air conditioning system effectively, but avoid setting it to an extreme temperature, which can lead to fatigue.
    • Sun savvy. Sun glare can impede visibility. Opt for polarized sunglasses to reduce squinting and improve visual clarity. Use sun visors and consider window shades for rear passengers, especially children.
    • Distraction-free driving. Put your phone away. Avoid texting, talking on the phone (unless using hands-free), or engaging in any activity that diverts your attention from the road.
    • Beware fatigue. Plan regular breaks to stretch your legs, get fresh air, and avoid drowsy driving. Share driving responsibilities on long trips, if possible.
    • Respect the road. Always adhere to posted speed limits. Increase following distances in hot weather, as braking efficiency can be reduced. Be extra cautious around motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • Prepare for Unforeseen Circumstances:
    • Overheating. If your car overheats, pull over to a safe location, turn off the engine, and turn on the heater (to help expel some heat). Let the engine cool completely before checking the coolant level. If you're unsure about the cause, seek professional assistance.
    • Breakdowns. If your vehicle breaks down, pull over to a safe location away from traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and use your emergency kit to alert other drivers.

Injured in a negligent driving accident? Call (843) 968-0886 to schedule an initial consultation.