June 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Before you go on your next trip, consider these summer safety tips.

  

Getting there is half the fun of a road trip vacation. It’s also half the hassle. Plenty of distractions both inside and outside your vehicle can take your attention from the road. Fellow travelers, traffic congestion, road construction and detours, ringing cell phones, unfamiliar roads, and loud music are just a few distractions you might encounter. While you can expect some distractions, you can also counter them with safe driving techniques to help you keep your focus.

The best way to stay focused while driving is to avoid fatigue. Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks. Stopping for food or beverages, taking time to pull over at a rest stop just to stretch your legs, staying overnight at a motel or local bed-and-breakfast, and sharing the driving are all good strategies for avoiding fatigue and staying alert behind the wheel.

Avoid Bad Driver Behaviors

Distracted Driving

The focus of any driver, at all times, should be driving. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. Distracted driving can be anything that pulls your attention away from driving. The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.

Set down some safety rules with your co-drivers before you hit the road. These rules should include refraining from activities that take your eyes and attention off the road. Insist that your co-drivers agree to make every effort to move to a safe place off of the road before using a cell phone—even in an emergency.

Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time.

Everybody aboard must agree to wear their seat belts every time they are riding or driving in your vehicle. If you’re not buckled up, you could be thrown through a window, sent skidding along the pavement, or be crushed under a vehicle in a crash. Wearing a seat belt is also the best defense against a drunk-driving crash.

Drunk Driving

Every 45 minutes and 32 times a day, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Be responsible and don’t drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.

 

Prepare your vehicle

Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns before they happen. If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good shape and nearly ready to travel. If not — or you don’t know the service history of the vehicle you plan to drive — schedule a preventive maintenance check-up with your mechanic now.

Providing your vehicle is well maintained, getting it ready for a road trip is relatively quick and easy. However, it’s important to perform the following basic safety checks before you go:

Vehicle Safety Checklist

Tires — Air pressure, tread wear, spare

  • The best way to avoid a flat tire, or an even more frightening experience, a blowout, is to check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month—and don’t forget to check your spare. A tire doesn’t have to be punctured to lose air. All tires naturally lose some air over time. In fact, under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure.
  • If your vehicle is a truck, van, or SUV, monitoring your tire pressure is critical to your safety. These vehicles have higher centers of gravity and are more prone to rollover than cars when their tires fail. If your vehicle and/or its tires are older, you need to exercise special care with regard to tire inflation and tire condition (including worn out treads or obvious damage), particularly in warm weather.
  • When towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle. If you are towing, make sure you inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. You can check the tire information placard or your owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle, and the correct tire pressure.
  • Check the air pressure in all your tires, including the spare. To get an accurate reading, check pressure when tires are cold, meaning they haven’t been driven on for at least three hours. It’s a good idea to keep a tire pressure gauge on hand in your vehicle for this purpose. You can find the correct pressure for your tires listed on a label inside the driver’s doorframe or in the vehicle owner’s manual — the correct pressure is NOT the number listed on the tire itself.
  • Also, take five minutes to inspect your tires for signs of excessive or irregular wear. If the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires. If you find irregular tread wear patterns, it means your tires need rotation and/or your wheels need to be realigned before you leave. .

Belts and Hoses — Condition and fittings
Look under the hood and inspect all belts and hoses to make sure they are in good shape with no signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. High summer temperatures accelerate the rate at which rubber belts and hoses degrade, so it’s best to replace them now if they show signs of obvious wear. While you’re at it, check all hose connections to make sure they’re secure.

Wiper Blades — Wear and tear on both sides
After the heavy toll imposed by winter storms and spring rains, windshield wipers are likely to be ragged from use and ready to be replaced. Like rubber belts and hoses, wiper blades are susceptible to the summer heat. Examine your blades for signs of wear and tear. If they aren’t in tip-top condition, invest in new ones before you go.

Cooling System — Needed servicing and coolant level
Carefully check your coolant level to make sure it’s adequate. In addition, if it’s time to have your cooling system flushed and refilled (or even nearly time), have it done now. On a long road trip in summer heat, you’ll want your cooling system functioning at peak performance to avoid the possibility of your engine overheating.

Fluid Levels — Oil, brake, transmission, power steering, coolant, and windshield washer fluids
Obviously, you’ll want to check your vehicle’s oil level. And as with coolant, if it’s time or even nearly time to have the oil changed, now would be a good time to do it. In addition, check the following fluid levels: brake, automatic transmission, power steering, windshield washer, and coolant. Make sure each reservoir is full and if you see any sign of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced.

Lights — Headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, interior lights, and
trailer lights

See and be seen! Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to check your trailer lights including brake lights and turn signals too. Failure of trailer light connections is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.

Air Conditioning — Sensitive to heat? Check AC performance before traveling
If you’re traveling with someone sensitive to heat, you may also want to make sure your AC system is functioning properly. Lack of air conditioning on a hot summer day affects people who are in poor health or are sensitive to heat, such as children and seniors. If the air is not blowing cold, have the system repaired before you go because emergency on-the-road repairs can be more costly than those you plan in advance.

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments

Comments are closed.