Summer is just right around the corner. It’s the perfect season to go on a road trip with friends and family. Go to the beach. Enjoy the mountains. Just go and take a break. But before you put pedal to the metal, please remember that there are many common dangers on the road this season.
Here’s a list of 7 car dangers and hazards in the summer to watch out for.
1. Watch out for construction.
Construction projects are in full swing during the summer for two reasons. First, there could be a lot of repairs needed to be done on roads that have been damaged by the previous winter. Second, there are a lot of houses, buildings and other structures that are being built because construction crews are taking advantage of the clear weather.
This raises the possibility of being stuck for hours in mile-long traffic because several lanes are closed. Dangers can also come from hot-headed drivers that make reckless maneuvers to escape the construction-induced traffic, like counter-flowing or driving over sidewalks.
You should also look at for possible falling debris from the top of buildings that are just being built. Always be on the lookout for signs to know if it is safe to pass thru a certain area.
2. Tire blowouts
The summer season is not friendly to your vehicle’s tires, because the extreme heat quickly expands the air in them, putting too much pressure on the tires’ outer walls. This might cause one or more of your tires to blow, putting you in jeopardy while you’re zooming at a high speed.
Always make sure that your tire has the right pressure. It might be useful if you can purchase your own tire air pressure gauge tester and keep it in the car so that you can check the pressure yourself every few miles. Check your car’s manual to know what the correct pressure of your tire should be, so you can monitor if your tires get underinflated often. If they do, you might have to repair them or have them replaced.
The extremely high temperature also poses a danger to your engine, because it might overheat while you’re on the road. Before starting your trip, pop open the hood and inspect the engine coolant, belts and hoses so you are sure that they are in order. Ask help from a trusted mechanic if you don’t know how to do it yourself.
You also have to think of the possibility that your AC will conk out, forcing you to drive in the heat until you reach a garage. Have your AC periodically inspected by a professional, so that it is always in tip top shape.
You may also want to bring enough hydration with you in the car so you have enough drinks to cool yourself, just in case. Place the drinks in a small cooler that is filled with ice so that your drinks will stay cold for a longer time.
4. New drivers
Summer is also the time when new and inexperienced drivers are on the road. They’re usually teenagers who are practicing their driving skills because school is out and there’s nothing much to do at home.
Always be in the lookout for these drivers because they are likely to cause accidents, because they may not yet know the rules of the road. And be patient with them; honking your horn may make them panic and drive more erratically. We’ve all been new drivers before, right?
5. Two wheels
You should also keep your eyes open for cyclists and motorcycle riders on the road. These small vehicles are more prevalent in the summer because the weather is clear, and there’s not much hazard for them, like rains or snow.
This is a bane for drivers because these small vehicles are much harder to see than normal four-wheeled cars. Some of them might even be passing on your blind spot, so be extra careful with them.
To avoid hitting a bicycle or a motorcycle, be sure to double check your side mirror before moving left or right. You should also give them enough space on the road, and avoid passing them when unnecessary. When overtaking them, be sure to give them enough space so that they don’t won’t be sandwiched between your car and the curb.
You should also be very quick to hit the brakes to avoid colliding with fast motorcycles that cut into your lane too closely. It happens more often than you think, so be extra alert.
6. Pedestrians and children
Don’t let your guard down yet because here’s another group that you should watch out for. When driving in a suburban area, be sure to slow down for pedestrians who are crossing the road. Let them pass and be respectful—don’t honk at them because that is just rude.
You shouldn’t also try to overtake vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk because a pedestrian might be crossing at that time.
Moreover, take extra caution for the possibility of playing children who would run into the middle of the road, especially at night when there is less visibility. Don’t drive too fast in residential areas to lessen this danger.
7. Animals crossing
In rural areas, you are least likelier to get into an accident with a pedestrian. What you should watch out for instead are farm and animals and wildlife who are standing in the middle of the street. They are more likely to be up and about because the winter just ended and they’ve woken up from hibernation.
Keep your eyes in the road to be able to see crossing deer or moose in wooded areas. If possible, use your high beams at night so you have a higher visibility. You should also avoid driving too fast on roads that have sharp curves.
This summer, be sure that safety is your top priority while on the road. There’s nothing fun about being on an accident, so always take extra precaution. You won’t regret it.
image credit: D-15 Photography via flickr