With the weather starting to heat up, long car trips to your ideal vacation are inevitable. With the snow and ice gone, you might think that the worst driving conditions for the year are over. While summertime eliminates the dangers of ice and snow, it does not eliminate road work, dangerous drivers, or vehicle malfunctions. Below are dangers of the summer roads and how to prevent yourself from falling victim to these predicaments.
- Vehicle Malfunctions: Vehicle malfunctions can happen suddenly, leaving you stranded on the side of the road waiting for assistance. This may make you late to check-in or unable to enjoy your vacation. Before leaving, be sure to check your vehicle to be certain that your vehicle is working properly. Look at things like fluid levels, lights, and tire pressure. Make sure to take care of parts that are costly and would be time-consuming to repair before you leave, or you will not be able to fully enjoy your time off.
- Overheating and Fatigue: Staying alert is impossible when you are focused on how hot your vehicle is or how tired you are from driving such a long distance. You can either roll the windows down and let the wind cool you down, or you can turn the air conditioner on high before leaving and let it run for a few minutes to make sure the air coming out of the vents is cold. You can then adjust the flow of the air once the cab becomes cold. This will assist in battling fatigue from the heat. However, if you do feel fatigue, do not force yourself to keep driving. Combined with the heat, fatigue is worsened, so do not push your body to its limit. You should have frequent rest stops built into your drive, so make sure to assess yourself before leaving these rest stops. Take enough water with you to last the trip. If possible, bring a cooler for the water and freeze a few bottles to put in the cooler. This will assist in cooling down your body.
- Restlessness and Distraction: Keep your phone out of your hands and out of your mind while you are driving. Do not eat, drink, or smoke behind the wheel. Always pull over or stop at a rest stop to do these things. To combat restlessness, take a brief walk at each rest stop and stretch. Sitting in your vehicle for so long may cause you discomfort, so be sure to move when you have safe opportunities at rest stops. Do not let your restlessness manifest itself in reckless driving.
- Detours and Road Work: Prior to leaving on your trip, check for road closures and traffic. Be sure to accommodate time due to delays if you are on a strict schedule. Even if you do not see any closures or major traffic, expect there to be some anyway and prepare accordingly. Identify alternate routes to your destination just in case. If you have one, be sure to have your GPS charged before you leave.
Stay alert on the road and be sure to buckle your seatbelt. Even though summer is here, do not let yourself neglect road safety, especially on long trips.