Summer months bring more bicycles, motorcycles, caravans, agricultural vehicles, visiting tourists and seasonal traffic congestion to the roads. This is when children are out of school and more people than usual are on the roads. With more people out and about, drivers need to be extra cautious. If you give some thought to your summer travel in a car you will ensure everyone arrives safely and can enjoy the trip. Follow these summer safety tips for driving to be sure that you are safe when out on the road in your car.
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Plan Your Trip
Plan the route beforehand, and travel during off-peak periods if possible leaving ‘more than enough’ time to negotiate the holiday congestion. Check the weather forecast and travel news before and during journeys. Expect to encounter roadwork, delays & detours. Check road conditions, including possible road closures.
Prepare Your Car
Before travelling, make sure your car on hire is roadworthy. Check the following at least daily:
- Tyre tread and pressures.
- Oil, water and fluid levels.
- Head-, brake- and indicator-lights. Make sure all lights work, including signal lights.
- Safety equipment including warning-triangle, torch, hi-vis jacket, first-aid kit, sunglasses and maps and plenty of bottled water.
When packing for a trip, don’t exceed your car’s payload capacity. Before heading out, also double check that you can clearly see out of all your windows.
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Check the Coolant and Cooling Fan
Since your car can easily overheat during the summer, you need to be sure that your coolant is kept full. Check your cooling fan as well. When it gets hot and the automobile sits in idle for a while, the cooling fan should automatically kick in. It is important to check your coolant and cooling fan on a regular basis to avoid overheating and extensive damage to your car.
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Manage glare and heat
Keep sunglasses handy and use a sun shield beneath your windshield when parked to keep your car’s interior heat down. Never leave a child or a pet unattended in a car. The summer sun can also dehydrate you during long roads trips so always travel with plenty of water. Also be sure to keep your windshield of your car free of grime that gets smeared. This can catch sunlight and cause glare.
Keep your passengers safe
Make sure everyone in your hired car is buckled up properly at all times. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to keep yourself and your passengers safe while on the road.
If you are travelling with young children, make sure to make regular stops. Bring plenty of items to keep them occupied. Special travel games and songs also help.Keep children 12 and under in the back seat of the car – it’s the safest place. Stopping along the drive gives everyone a chance to stretch and makes the trip easier.
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Share the road
Warm weather means more bicycles and motorcycles and vulnerable roads users on the road and increased construction on the roads and highways. We recommend these tips for avoiding collisions:
- Always be on the lookout for and yield to vulnerable road users, even if they don’t have the right-of-way.
- Never share lanes with motorcycles, as they also have use of the complete traffic lane.
- Increase your following distance to four seconds or more when behind motorcycles.
- Constantly scan the roadway in front, to the rear, and to the sides of your car for motorcyclists and bicyclists.
- When going through construction zones, use extreme caution, follow all road signs and look out for pedestrians or workers.
Drive at a safe speed. The faster a car is moving, the less time the driver has to react to a hazard, and for other road users to react to that vehicle. A speeding car requires more time and distance to stop. Leave plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. Apply the three second rule so you can see around the car ahead and plan a manoeuvre to avoid potential dangers, add more time if you have a heavier vehicle, and in poor weather conditions. You must be prepared for the unsafe actions of other motorists or for poor driving conditions.
- Obey all signs and signals, including speed limits, traffic lights, stop signs and railway crossings.
- If you drive with a wireless phone, avoid unnecessary calls and always make the driving task your top priority. Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while driving – even hands-free. Don’t program your mobile GPS while you are driving. Either have a passenger do it or stop in a safe place.
- Absolutely never drink and drive.
Be extra careful in the early morning or at dusk and during the night, when animals and agricultural vehicles are most likely to be on the road.
If driving a van:
- Take extreme care reversing.
- Check carefully for elderly people and children where you make deliveries or collections.
- Slow down in built up areas
- Slow down near cyclists
If driving a car hire:
- Keep out of others’ blind spots.
- Be seen: don’t let larger vehicles hide yours from view
- Use daytime running lights.
Get a good sleep before leaving on a long trip. When you feel tired, also have a good sleep. Rest breaks every 2 hours keep drivers alert by promoting blood circulation, make trips more pleasant for you and your passengers, let the rental car cool down.
Share the driving with other passengers to avoid fatigue.
Rest – driving while drowsy can be fatal. Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks. Take time to pull over at rest stops to stretch your legs and focus your head. Stop for food or beverages. Avoid eating while driving. Don’t fall into the trap of driving while angry – aggressive driving kills.
Summer storms — and even sun showers — require extreme caution. Roads become very slippery in the first few minutes of rainfall because the rain mixes with the oil and dirt on the road. It takes about 30 minutes of steady rain to wash the oil and dirt off the road.
Never Leave a Child Alone In a Car – Not Even For a Minute
Never leave a child unattended in a car, even with the window slightly open. An outside temperature of 36 degrees can easily result in an interior temperature of 67 degrees in 15 minutes.
If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 112. Emergency medical service professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
Place your cell phone, purse or other important item needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in the backseat of the car. This triggers adults to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings.
Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.
If a child is missing, check your car first or any other vehicles at your house or hotel, including car trunks.
Teach your children that vehicles including your automobile are never to be used as a play area.
Remember to drive safely, and enjoy your summer rental car driving!