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How you can avoid summer driving hazards

 

 

Increasing driver’s safety in summer

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most auto-related incidents and injuries occur in July and August, including teenage accidents and deaths. In summer, we experience many weather-related changes and cultural patterns, which increase driving hazards during the summer months. This month’s blog will cover the most common summertime driving dangers and how we can avoid them. 

 

Tire blowouts

When it is hot outside and the pavement heats up, that heat transfers to your tires, causing the air inside to expand. Even new tires can blow out during a heatwave if you are not mindful of your tire pressure.

The opposite occurs when it is cool outside, meaning that your tires will have low air pressure. Shifting between temperatures can cause frequent flat tires and blowouts, and if this occurs while driving can cause a terrible accident, especially while driving at high speeds.

 

As a bonus, you can improveyour miles per gallon with properly inflated tires? Save your car, your fuel, and added expenses by checking tire pressure frequently!

 

Tire Tips:

  • Check your tire pressure frequently.

  • Have a spare tire in your car. Make sure the spare has the right tire pressure as well.

  • Replace tires if there is uneven or excessive wear. Check the built-in wear indicators to determine when you need a change.

  • Drive around potholes when possible.

  • Engine overheating

 

Similar to a tire blowout, high summer temps can also affect your engine performance. No one wants an engine fire or to replace your engine because it overheated and warped the heads.

 

Engine temp tips:

  • Check engine coolant, hoses, and belts frequently

  • Get your oil changed every season

  • Make sure your air conditioning is functioning properly.

  • If your engine overheats, pull over immediately and call for help. Be sure to wait for the engine to completely cool, about 30 minutes, before restarting.

 

Construction season is here

During summer, we find more and more road construction underway, increasing traffic jams and roadblocks, causing pesky delays and detours. According to FHWA, there are daily injuries and weekly fatalities in work zones, so this is a place to keep highly aware of your surroundings, especially in the summertime.

 

Construction zone driving tips:

  • Check out 6 work zone driving tips here

  • Slow down to 10-15mph below the speed limit in work zones

  • Merge early when entering a work-zone

  • Find an alternative route to a known construction areas

  • Anticipate delays and plan for them in your schedule

 

Rain and floods

Did you know that 73% of weather-related accidents are on wet pavement? This statistic is significantly higher than all other weather-related accidents combined. If it hasn’t rained in a while, then there is sure to be oil on the roadway that, once mixed with water, causing a slick road, and you will not be able to slow down, leading to a loss of driving control. Rain puddles reduce your traction, which leads to hydroplaning and fishtailing, not to mention how nervous most drivers get, which can mean erratic behavior while behind the wheel.

 

Driving in the rain tips:

  • The first few minutes after it starts raining is when the pavement is most slippery

  • If you hydroplane, turn into the spin until you gain control of the wheel

  • Turn on your windshield wipers early

  • Replace your wiper blades so they better clear water.

  • Consistently check and maintain windshield wiper fluid.

  • Follow these tips for driving in thunderstorms.

 

Look out for Animals

Animals may be coming out for the mating season, so more animals are crossing the streets, causing accidents. Each year, hitting or swerving around animals causes thousands of accidents.

 

Tips to avoid wild animals:

  • Dawn and dusk are when animals (especially deer) are most active

  • Avoid swerving into oncoming traffic

  • Always wear your seatbelt

  • Keep a look out for animal crossing and also warning signs

  • Use your high beams when driving at night. Look for eyes reflecting the light

 

Bicyclists

Cyclists can be challenging to see, especially in your blind spots. Without the armor of a car surrounding them, they are more vulnerable in an accident, which means there is a much higher serious injury and fatality rate. Most car accidents with a cyclist happen in urban areas between 6 PM & 9 PM, so keep your eyes out for cyclists, especially in the evenings.

 

Tips on cycling safety

  • Treat bikes like slow-moving vehicles.

  • Give bikers at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. 

  • When opening car doors, making turns, or changing lanes, keep your eyes out for cyclists.

  • Understand the local bike rules.

  • Be patient.

  • Follow these bike safety tips.

 

Motorcyclists

When the sun is out, so are the bikes! Like bicyclists, motorcyclists are exposed and more vulnerable to accidents; however, they move at faster speeds. Please note that estimating a motorcycle’s speed can also be challenging, and they can easily hide in your blind spot.

Did you know that motorcyclist deaths occur 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other accidents? 

 

Tips to keep motorcyclists safe

  • Motorcycles can stop faster than cars, so follow motorcycles at a greater distance 

  • Check your blind spots multiple times and be careful when making turns, especially left turns 

  • When motorcyclists come at you from the other direction, dim your headlights

  • Check out more safety tips for drivers sharing the road with motorcycles.

 

Pedestrians

When the sun is out, so are people, and while walking near a roadway, every driver needs to keep aware to avoid any accidents. We all know that the number of distracted walkers on their mobile phones is increasing, causing pedestrians to pop out dangerously (often not at crosswalks).

 

Pedestrian safety tips:

  • Check right, left, and right twice for pedestrians before making a turn

  • Keep a special eye out in urban areas

  • Be sure to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

  • When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk. The car could be waiting for pedestrians to pass

  • Watch for distracted walkers on their phones while crossing the street

 

Teen drivers

Teens are on the road even more in the summertime, when curfews are more relaxed. Teens need more experience and are often more reckless, and they tend to be glued to their phones, creating a more hazardous road for all. Did you know that summer has actually been dubbed the 100 Deadly Days because teen driving is so dangerous?

 

Tips to keep our teens safe

  • Show your kiddos this infographic 

  • Talk to your teen about distracted driving dangers

  • Implement driving curfews during summertime

  • Limit the number of teens driving in your car at once. (Risk increases for each additional passenger.)

  • Avoid these five teen-driving risks

 

Vacation traffic

Do you have a vacation coming up? Many people take time off in the summer to vacation, which means there are more drivers on the road, which raises the odds of an accident. Drivers often are more distracted on vacation, using their phones or chatting with friends while driving. It is important to also note that drinking and driving also increase in the summertime. Drowsy and distracted drivers are also more common in summer. Did you know that holiday weekends have the highest car accident fatality rates?

 

Tips for driving safety

  • Keep extra water in your car and stay hydrated

  • Never drink and drive

  • Avoid late-night driving on the weekends

  • Avoid holiday weekend driving

  • Take a cab, Uber, or call a friend if you feel too tired, dehydrated, or maybe too intoxicated to drive.

Bonus Tip

You will always want to have an emergency road kit on hand in case you run into any of these summer dangers. Your road kit should include:

  • Cell phone with charger

  • Phone number of your insurance company and AAA

  • First aid kit

  • Flashlight

  • Flares

  • Jumper cables

  • Jack and mat for changing a tire

  • Basic repair tools, like duct tape

  • Nonperishable food

  • Drinking water

  • Paper towels

  • Windshield wiper fluid

  • Emergency blankets and towels

 

Thank you for taking the time to read our August blog! When your vehicle needs auto repair, John's Automotive Care is here to help. We proudly service many vehicles from La Mesa, Mission Valley, Mission Valley East, Grantville, Rolando, Rolando Village, Oak Park, Tierrasanta, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Serra Mesa, Kearny Mesa, and Hillcrest. While our auto mechanics service your vehicle, you can sit back and relax, knowing your car is in capable hands. We go above and beyond for you, whether that means offering your pup a biscuit, providing you with a thorough, detailed vehicle inspection, or walking you to your car after its service. To schedule an appointment at John's Automotive Care, call us. We are located at 7447 University Ave, La Mesa, CA, 91942

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