The summer brings warmer weather, more relaxed schedules, and worse drivers. Help keep yourself and your loved ones safe behind the wheel this summer with these seven summer driving safety tips.
1. Get a Summer-Friendly Maintenance Check
High temperatures can be tough on your vehicle and can present safety issues. Your fluids are more likely to evaporate, and your engine is more likely to overheat in warm weather. Plus, underinflated tires can overheat on scorching road surfaces and increase the likelihood of a blown tire.
So before the temps skyrocket, get your summer maintenance check. Have a qualified auto technician check your fluids, tires, battery, and cooling systems so you can drive through the summer confidently. But keep a breakdown kit in your truck (with water, jumper cables, a flashlight, road flares, basic tools, and a first aid kit) just in case.
2. Never Drink and Drive
Drinking and driving resulted in 10,142 deaths in 2019. Every single one of these was avoidable. If you’re going to be out having a few drinks and enjoying the summer months, have a plan to get you and your friends home safely. You have several options:
Choose a designated driver among your friend group.
Use a rideshare service to get everyone home.
Pick a party location near enough to your home where you can safely walk home.
Host a house party so you never have to leave home and your friends can stay over if needed.
Call a trusted friend or family member to come to get you. Even if they are inconvenienced by your call, they’d rather come to get you than have you involved in an accident.
3. Stash Your Cell
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that cell phone use accounts for around 25% of car crashes nationwide. Using your cell to call, text, change music, or adjust navigation settings is exceptionally dangerous. Even if you’re not going very fast, you can still cause damage to property or serious injuries to yourself or others.
Avoid the temptation to use your phone by storing it out of reach while driving. Toss it in the backseat or even in the trunk. Alternatively, you can install an app that will lock your phone while your vehicle is running.
4. Avoid Distractions
Cell phones may be among the most dangerous distractions, but they’re certainly not the only ones. Other distractions include eating, drinking, talking to passengers, and grooming. Have you seen people shaving or applying makeup in the rearview mirror? Yikes!
3,142 people were killed in distracted driving incidents in 2019. Stay safe behind the wheel this summer by minimizing all distractions and focusing on the road.
5. Buckle Up
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017 (among passengers aged five and older). In major crashes, there is a very real threat of being thrown from the vehicle if you’re not wearing a seat belt. And if you’re thrown from the vehicle, your chances of survival plummet. Around 83% of passenger vehicle occupants who are ejected from the vehicle in a crash are killed.
So please buckle up and insist that the others in your vehicle do the same.
6. Stick to the Speed Limit
Speed limits are meant to prevent you from traveling faster than is safe. The faster you’re traveling, the easier it is to lose control of the vehicle and the more dangerous an impact is. According to the National Safety Council, speeding contributed to 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019, killing 9,478 people. That’s an average of more than 25 people per day killed because of speeding.
Stick to the speed limit to help stay safe behind the wheel this summer.
7. Watch for Other Drivers
Even when you’re doing everything correctly on the road, other drivers might not be. The summer months bring out teenage drivers working summer jobs, party-goers, and road-trip vacationers, all of which pose a potential threat.
Now is the time to take a defensive driver course. Defensive driver courses can teach you how to anticipate the moves of other drivers and how to proactively avoid collisions when other drivers aren’t paying attention or following the rules of the road.
Have a safe and happy summer!