Summer Driving Safety Tips: From Car Maintenance to Road Safety
Summer is a wonderful time of year filled with sunshine, road trips, and outdoor activities. However, the season also brings some challenges for drivers. Weather conditions, increased travel, and the overall hustle and bustle of summer can pose certain risks on the road.
In Missouri, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, 333 people died in car accidents in 2021, making it the deadliest time of year for drivers. Taking appropriate actions to ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and practicing safe driving habits is critical for your safety on the road.
Driving safely in Missouri during the summer months requires extra attention and preparation to handle the unique challenges of hot weather and increased traffic. To ensure you stay safe and enjoy your summer trips, keep these tips in mind:
High temperatures in summer can overheat your vehicle’s engine. Monitor the temperature gauge to ensure your cooling system functions correctly. Coolant (or antifreeze) is the primary agent that prevents your engine from overheating. It absorbs the heat generated by the engine and dispels it through the radiator.
Coolant levels can deplete faster during the summer due to higher external temperatures. If your coolant is low, top it off to prevent engine damage and potential breakdowns.
Fluctuating summer temperatures can affect your tires, causing the air to expand. Overinflated tires can reduce traction and lead to premature tire wear and even blowouts. Underinflated tires cause poor handling and increased friction, leading to tire overheating and potential failure.
Check your tire pressure regularly and keep them properly inflated. If you are unsure of the tire pressure for your vehicle, look on the inside of the driver’s door jamb or in your owner’s manual. Most vehicles fall within a range of 32-35 PSI; however, it’s best to measure this after your car has been off overnight or sitting in a cool garage for a few hours for an accurate measurement.
Missouri ranks 23rd in summer rainfall and receives an average of 3.93 inches of rain a month. Large amounts of rain can cause visibility issues, so ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition and replace them if needed. Clear visibility is essential for safe driving, especially during heavy rain or sudden downpours. Consider summer wipers, which have a more lightweight frame and rubber coating, ideal for keeping summer rain off your windshield.
Ensure all your vehicle’s lights are in working order. Properly functioning lights are crucial for visibility and signaling intentions to other drivers, particularly during nighttime driving or adverse weather conditions. If caught in a severe storm, find a safe place to pull over until it passes.
Plan your routes, especially when traveling to unfamiliar destinations. Summer is a common time for roadwork in Missouri, so be aware of construction zones and road closures and consider alternate routes to avoid delays and potential hazards. When approaching a construction zone, always slow down, follow posted detour signs, and respect flaggers’ instructions.
Summer is a busy time for travel, so you may encounter heavy traffic, particularly around popular tourist areas like the Lake of the Ozarks. Plan your route using a trip planning app like Waze and try to travel at off-peak times. Avoid driving on holidays, such as July 4th, one of the deadliest holidays for drunk driving.
Summer weather attracts more motorcyclists and pedestrians to the roads. Stay vigilant and watch out for smaller vehicles and vulnerable road users. Give them enough space, and always check blind spots before changing lanes or making turns.
As the summer weather invites more drivers onto the roads in Missouri, it also increases the risk of encountering distracted drivers. Distracted driving can become a concern due to increased tourist activity, summer events, more teen drivers on the road, or complacency.
Distracted drivers might exhibit erratic braking, swerving, slow response to traffic signals, or inconsistent speed. Regularly scan the road and your mirrors, and keep a watchful eye on the cars around you. If you spot distracted behavior, maintain a safe distance. This extra space can give you additional time to react if the driver makes an unexpected move.
Being proactive in your approach to road safety can help you fully appreciate the beauty of the season, whether you’re exploring the vibrant landscapes of Missouri or taking a long-awaited road trip.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. If you are involved in a car crash, our car accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley can help you explore your legal options. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your accident and learn how we can help you receive compensation.