6 Safety Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

June 3, 2016
safety
6 Safety Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

Winter’s snowstorms and icy roads usually steal focus when it comes to talking about safe seasonal driving. However, each season has its dangers. Whether it’s hydroplaning during a spring downpour or getting blindsided by a deer during fall mating season, a good driver knows what to watch for in every season.

Summer is no different. Staying safe during summer road trips requires a bit more than a good pair of shades to protect against road glare. Stay safe during vacation season by following these tips:

6 Safety Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

1. Be wary of wildlife

Between escaped house pets and wildlife that still hasn’t learned to look both ways before crossing, animals are a worry year round, not just during prime mating or migration seasons.

Animal lovers may be tempted to swerve to avoid deer and other jaywalking wildlife, but that’s actually the more dangerous option for drivers. In 2014, Pennsylvania drivers who swerved to avoid deer caused over 24,000 collisions, resulting in over 400 deaths. To put those figures in perspective, there were only 3,500 deer-vehicle collisions and nine resulting deaths in the same year.

Swerving might help you avoid the animal (emphasis on might). However, it is far more likely that, by swerving, you’ll hit a tree, a pole, an embankment, personal property, a pedestrian or another vehicle.

2. Watch for increased traffic

Obviously you should be mindful of your fellow travelers all year round, but summer months bring an increase in:

  • Kids or families out for a walk
  • Kids and adults bicycling for fun or to work
  • Motorcyclists taking advantage of good weather
  • Kids playing in or near the road
  • More teen drivers
  • Congestion due to vacation travel

It’s easy to hate dealing with tourist traffic in your hometown, but it’s also hard to be part of that tourist traffic. Driving on unfamiliar roads is difficult enough without hotheaded locals using intimidating and aggressive driving tactics. Hometown drivers need to be more understanding and safety-conscious with their driving choices. Tourists can also help improve the situation by using their flashers when slowing to look for a destination or by pulling off the road to regroup if they’re having trouble with directions.

3. Research Before Crossing Borders

If your summer travels will take you overseas or across borders, be sure to brush up on your destination’s driving laws.

Driving in a foreign country brings concerns from licensing legalities to which side of the road you’ll drive on. Visit an embassy site to learn all you can about driving laws. For more experiential insight, look for a reputable travel blogger who has been to your destination. They may be able to offer more specific insights to cultural driving habits thanks to their hands on experience.

Sometimes staying safe while driving in a foreign country means not driving. If you don’t feel comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road (or worry you’ll forget), take advantage of public transport systems (subways, taxis, buses, etc) or hire a driver (if you have the means).

4. Be aware of wear and tear

Long road trips (or even frequent mini-vacations) can be hard on your car, especially when you factor in high temperatures.

Summer heat can cause increased wear and tear on your vehicle. Key points to remember include:

  • Tires will wear more quickly and pop more easily in summer heat
  • Liquid levels will dip at a faster rate, so keep an eye on oil, coolants and other lubricants
  • High temperatures can contribute to your engine overheating
  • Battery life can also be affected by heat

Before heading out on a long trip, make an appointment to have your car serviced. For those who handle some or all of their own maintenance, keep a list of concerns and care tips handy for summer travel.

5. Don’t forget about heat safety

It’s easy to underestimate how quickly (and how high) the temperature can rise inside your car.

Risk of heat stroke is very high during summer months. You can still be at risk even with the air conditioning on or the windows rolled down. Kids are more at risk of heat stroke than adults, which is why you should never leave a child unattended in a car or assume that a stranger’s kid will be fine if you see them alone in a vehicle.

Do what you can to beat the heat. Stay hydrated. Park in the shade and use a sun shield whenever possible. Don’t forget to slather on sunscreen for long trips. Leaning on an open window is fun until the sunburn sets in.

6. Have an emergency kit

It’s always good practice to have an emergency kit in your car. Many of the items listed below are helpful year round, but it never hurts to reevaluate and restock seasonally.

Some items to put in your kit include:

  • Cell phone
  • Flashlight
  • Duct tape for hoses
  • Basic repair (good spare tire, none of those dinky things, jack, jumper cables)
  • Extra fluids (oil, coolant, wiper fluid–any/all depending on your car’s needs)
  • Flares or collapsible traffic cone
  • White shirt or flag
  • First aid kit
  • GPS (good to have a GPS if cell data/signal is spotty for directions)
  • Granola bars (or other non-perishable food)
  • Water (a gallon jug is a good start)

Follow these tips for a safe and enjoyable summer. After all, you want to spend your long summer days enjoying life, not recovering from an avoidable accident or case of heat stroke.

 

 

6 Safety Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

About Kacey Mya

AvatarKacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

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