Going on a summer road trip can be a lot of fun, but summer is also when the roads are the busiest and when some of the deadliest accidents occur. To ensure that your summer driving stays safe and enjoyable, here are nine summer driving tips to consider before you take your next road trip:
- Keep your car well maintained. Remember to keep up with your regular tune-ups, tire rotations and oil changes. This will help you avoid breakdowns so you can get to your destination.
- Never leave kids or pets unattended in your car. In the heat of summer, the temperature inside your vehicle can become deadly in only 10 minutes – this is true even if the windows are slightly down.
- Watch for children. With the kids out of school for summer holidays, it is more important than ever to be watchful for children. Kids aren’t always as careful as they should be so slow down especially in residential neighbourhoods.
- Share the roads. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are also out enjoying the nice weather during the summer. These people do not have the same protection as someone who is in a car so be sure to share the road and help them avoid injury.
- Don’t drive distracted. In Ontario, it is against the law to use a handheld device such as a cell phone while driving. If you get caught, you’ll end up with a huge fine that will undoubtedly cut into your summer fun budget. But more importantly than that, distracted driving is extremely dangerous. A report by NSC.org found that cell phone use was a factor in 26% of all crashes and that in fatal crashes of drivers aged 20 years or less, 10% of them were driving distracted. Anything that takes your attention off the road should be avoided. This includes not only cell phones but eating and drinking, talking with passengers, etc.
- Never drive drunk. Pure and simple, drunk driving kills. There are so many other options, from calling a friend, taking public transportation to getting an Uber – there is simply no excuse for driving while intoxicated.
- Don’t drive when you are sleep deprived. Especially when you are going on a long road trip, it can be easy to ignore that drowsy feeling because you just want to get there. But driving while drowsy can be similar to driving drunk. You don’t have the reflexes to react if you suddenly find yourself in a dangerous situation. Be sure to get a good sleep before going on a long road trip and if you start feeling drowsy at the wheel, either let someone else drive or pull over to a safe location and get some rest.
- Be prepared. Before leaving for a long trip, make sure that you are emergency ready. Ensure you have a fully charged cell phone, jumper cables, spare tire, jack and lug wrench in the car. Also consider bringing non-perishable snacks, bottled water and a flashlight.
Road trips are part of what makes summer great. Just remember that you need to take some safety precautions to ensure that they stay that way.