When the topic turns to seasonal perils, drivers tend to think of the dangers borne by winter's snow, sleet, ice and freezing temperatures. But the cold weather months don't hold a monopoly on seasonal scares that impact cars and driving. Sizzling summer days also hold threats.
Driving on hot days can be just as risky as during extreme weather conditions in winter, with many accidents in the sizzling summer months attributed to lack of fluid intake on the part of drivers, and that does not include alcohol.
The combination of heat, long trips and heavy loads can place enormous demands on your car. The season can be brutal on your car. Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic will take their toll on your vehicle.
Batteries are particularly affected by the heat, as are distraught engines overworked by things like towing a boat in a hurry down the highway.
That combination of heat, weight and high speed taxes even the most powerful of engines, and can quickly lead to overheating. So drive at the speed limit or slower.
Small children and pets should never be left alone in a locked car on a hot summer day. The interior of a car can heat up quickly in direct sunlight, reaching temperatures of up to 140 degrees degrees and more within a short space of time. All doors should be opened before starting the car to allow the heat to escape from the heated cockpit interior.
Motorists should enhance their hot-weather preparedness with an emergency kit that should be stocked with things that would be needed in the event of a breakdown, such as water, necessary medications, first aid supplies and portable cooling devices, such as battery-powered fans.
Use caution when refueling. Avoid filling the tank to the brim as fuel expands in heat. Vapor could escape with a risk of explosion. Be good to the environment on hot summer days. First, don't top off your tank unnecessarily, which can cause toxic fumes to be emitted into the air.
Second, schedule your visits to gas stations for early morning or late evening hours. Refueling at these times of the day can result in fewer gasoline fumes being evaporated into the environment.
When it comes to the vehicle itself motorists should regularly check hoses, belts and the cooling system, tire pressure and the oil level. Finally, keep an occasional eye on the temperature gauge while driving.
If you see your engine's temperature rising on a hot day, turn off the air conditioning and turn on the heater to draw heat from the engine.
If you are stopped in traffic, you can place the transmission in park and lightly tap the accelerator to circulate coolant through the engine. Then get to a service station immediately to have the engine checked.
Take plenty of water with you whenever you plan on a trip out of town, or just a trip in the city. You should have a cooler of cold water bottles, 3 for each person or pet in the car.