Summer road trips can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends. However, driving in the summer heat comes with its dangers. While our vehicles are designed to drive in hot weather, the heat can still get the best of our cars and trucks in some cases. Fortunately, if our vehicles are properly prepared to handle extreme heat, they have an excellent chance to endure it without giving us problems.
Staying Safe While Driving in Extreme Heat This Summer
One of the best tips for driving in extreme heat is to avoid it if possible. If not possible, try to make your trips short and avoid driving during the hottest part of the day. Still, at some point, especially if you’re going on a summer road trip, you will probably have to drive in an extreme heat over a long distance during the hottest part of the day.
When that’s the case, the best way to stay safe is to make sure your vehicle is prepared to endure the trip. Here are a few tips for staying safe while driving in extreme heat:
- Keep on top of vehicle maintenance. Make sure your car’s engine is prepared for summer. Get your regular oil changes. Have your vehicle’s cooling system checked. This includes ensuring your fluids, such as coolant and freon, are topped off, your radiator and hoses are leak free and working properly, and that your radiator has been flushed and filled within the past two years. You should also have your air conditioner checked, and have an overall vehicle inspection, including the tires and braking system.
- Make sure your tires are in good condition. Your tires are your vehicle’s only point of contact with the road, so you always want to be sure that they are in good condition. Check your tires’ pressure every month. Heat can raise tire pressure quickly. You should also keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear and have your tires rotated regularly.
- Double check your vehicle’s cooling system. In addition to having your car’s cooling system checked by a mechanic, you should check it occasionally. You don’t want it to get to the point where your vehicle is letting you know that your coolant is low or your radiator is damaged, because that could happen while you’re driving. The last thing you want is to find out your car or pickup truck has a cooling system problem while you’re out in the middle of nowhere on a road trip.
- Don’t neglect yourself or your passengers. Don’t just prepare your vehicle for driving in extreme heat. Make sure you and your passengers are ready to travel in the summer heat as well. If you stop somewhere to park, don’t let anyone stay in the car without AC too long, because they could suffer heat stroke. Make sure that you take plenty of water for you and your passengers, so that you all stay well hydrated.
- Be extra careful if you drive an electric vehicle. Batteries in some electric vehicles don’t handle extreme temperatures well. Driving in extreme heat can result in electric vehicle batteries losing their charge more quickly than they normally do. That is something electric vehicle owners should keep in mind, especially if they are planning to take their electric cars or trucks on a summer road trip.
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