This summer, whether you are driving for work or for fun, whether you are travelling 100 kilometres or 1,000, you and your vehicle need to be prepared for hot weather. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Prepare your vehicle
Did you know that tire blowouts are more common in hot weather? The BC Automobile Association (BCAA) has developed a checklist on how to make sure your vehicle is road ready for summer driving. It includes checking the pressure in your tires, making sure the radiator is working properly and filled with fluid, checking hoses and belts, testing the battery and checking that the air conditioning is working properly.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) also offers guidance on why preparing your vehicle for summer driving is absolutely key to a safe trip.
If you are travelling a long distance, plan your trip for early in the morning or late in the evening. The weather is a bit cooler and will make it easier on your car's engine and your passengers.
Prepare yourself and your passengers
Here are a few reminders on how to make sure you and your passengers travel comfortably and safely in hot weather:
- Make sure your windshield is clean and clear and wear good sunglasses to protect your eyes. If you are driving east in the early morning or west in late afternoon and evening, you may encounter glare from the sun.
- Wild animals are more likely to be active early in the morning or in the late afternoon and evening, so it is important to be extra vigilant.
- Never leave children or pets unattended for any length of time in a car. A closed car can heat up dangerously fast in a very short time.
- Make sure you and your passengers wear clothing appropriate for the heat such as light coloured and natural fibre fabrics. If you will be exposed to the sun for long periods of time, be sure to cover-up or to wear sunscreen.
- Keep a cooler with chilled drinks on hand to ensure everyone remains hydrated. Water is a better option than sugary drinks.
- Use window shades to protect small children in the back seat. Children are particularly sensitive to temperature extremes so take additional precautions to protect them.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car. If you get stranded, the kit could be a lifesaver.
- Take breaks every two to three hours to stretch your legs and get a drink.
As always, it's important to wear your seat belt, keep your cell phone charged up, drive to the conditions and not over the speed limit, and stay alert.
Plan your trip
The final piece of the puzzle is to make sure you have a plan for your trip and that someone not travelling with you knows it. Start with this occupational driving trip plan template and modify it for your personal use. Using a check-in system especially if your trip is a long one, will give both you and your family more peace of mind as someone will know approximately where you are at all times and will contact emergency services if you don’t check in as planned.
Stay safe out there. Winter will be here again before you know it.