June 07, 2017 at 7:59 PM
Car care is essential in the summer. When planning to take long road trips, it’s best to prepare with proper car maintenance to avoid any problems. With some easy checks and basic car care for summer, many car travel issues could be prevented. Follow these summer driving tips to help your road trips go smoothly.
Check Car Fluids
Top off your windscreen wash fluid and check your car’s water and oil levels. Coolant is necessary to prevent the car from overheating. Never check coolant levels while the vehicle’s engine is still warm from use. Check to make sure the coolant reaches the fill line on the reservoir. If the liquid is below the line, add a mixture of half coolant and half water until the liquid reaches the fill line unless the coolant is pre-mixed. Check the information on the bottle of coolant to see if it is pre-mixed or needs to be mixed with water.
Fill Fuel Tank
Sometimes people get so distracted with their road trip activities that they forget to check the fuel gage. Running out of petrol on the road is a preventable hazard. Don’t push the limits and delay buying petrol. Unexpected problems like traffic or waiting for a road to open after an accident can cause you to use more fuel than you planned to use. Be safe and keep an ample supply of petrol in your car.
Check Tyre Condition and Pressure
Tyres that are damaged are at increased risk of blowout when the temperature is hot. Also, check that the tyres have sufficient tread and are at the right pressure. When you check the pressure, don’t do so after driving. It’s best to wait until the tyres have been resting and are cooled to normal temperature. This is the reason it’s best to have your own tyre pressure gauge than to use one at a petrol station. The recommended tyre air pressure should be on the driver’s side door jamb or owner’s manual.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Nothing can put a damper on an enjoyable holiday as fast as being confronted by law enforcement or worse, having an accident due to speeding or other traffic violations. These days, it’s very easy to grab your phone and answer it as an automatic reflex. Remember to avoid using a phone while driving.
Hot Cars Are Dangerous
Never leave an animal or child in a hot car even for a minute. The temperature in a parked car on a hot, summer day can reach dangerous levels very quickly.
A glare from the sun can be distracting and make it difficult to see. Wear sunglasses to help reduce glare. Use the sun visor to help block part of the sun glare.
Consider Purchasing Breakdown Coverage
Check your breakdown coverage to make sure it’s active and you know exactly what it covers. If you don’t already have breakdown coverage and you plan on taking a road trip, you may want to consider obtaining some just in case you need it.
Prepare for Trips with Children
A trip with children requires some extra planning. Be sure the child safety seats are properly installed. Snacks and drinks are good to have on hand for a long road trip. Plan some activities that will help entertain the children during the trip.
Reduce Hayfever Distractions
Hayfever can cause potentially dangerous distractions. Sneezing while driving at highway speeds can cause you to travel with your eyes closed for up to 100 metres! If you are having hayfever symptoms while driving, you may want to take over-the-counter medication to help reduce the symptoms. However, beware that some of these medications can cause drowsiness and should not be used while driving long distances. Choose one that is for day-time use that doesn’t cause drowsiness. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are on other medications since it may cause interactions with over-the-counter medications.
Other ways to reduce hayfever triggers while driving is to drive with the windows up and vacuum the car interior and floor mats.
Plan for Trips with Dogs
If you are traveling with a dog, you may want to check the travel route and plan for stops to give the dog water and walk the dog. Before a long trip, you may want to buy a special seat cover for pets to help protect the seats.
Don’t Drive Tired
When on a long road trip, many people push themselves to cover more miles than is comfortable. It’s dangerous to drive while tired. If you become sleepy while driving, it’s better to stop and reconsider your plans. It’s better to be safe than to put yourself and others in danger. Consider taking time out from driving and take a break to sleep, even for a short nap.
Avoid Causing Fire
If you smoke, never throw the cigarette out the window. In the summer months, this is especially dangerous. The grass and shrubbery near the roadside is likely to be dry which means that a lit cigarette can spark a fire very easily.
Watch for Wind and Fallen Branches
Thunderstorms and wind can cause problems for motorists. Gusts of strong winds can surprise motorists and cause them to veer on the road. This is especially a problem for motorcyclists. If you are driving your car in windy conditions, keep both of your hands on the wheel and keep your speed low. Leave some extra space between your car and other vehicles.
Driving in Rain and Thunderstorms
Turn your headlights on when it rains. When visibility is greatly reduced due to rapid rainfall, you may want to pull over to the side of the road if you can do so safely. Often, the worst of the storm passes in minutes. Aquaplaning occurs when the rain on the road is preventing good traction. If steering feels lighter than usual, it may be a sign of aquaplaning. Gradually ease up on the accelerator to reduce speed. That should help cease the aquaplaning and improve traction.
Avoid Driving Through Standing Water
Never drive across water flooding the road that is moving. Losing control of the vehicle and having the car drift with the force of the water can happen much easier than a driver may expect. If you are sure the water is less than four inches deep and not moving, drive slowly and test your brakes soon afterwards.
Are you getting ready for a long road trip? If you are concerned about whether or not your car is ready for the trip, you may want to have the car checked by one of our friendly and professional technicians.