Prepare to travel safely in the heat
Driving in hot weather presents its own challenges. Some are best avoided for safety reasons. Others are best avoided to prevent car problems.
Before taking to the road, experts say, you should check automatic transmission, brake, coolant, and windshield washer fluid levels. Make sure all hose connections are secure.
Have a mechanic check the battery and connections or take the battery to an auto parts store that offers free battery testing.
Check the air conditioner to make sure it is functioning properly.
A car with signs of fluid leakage should be taken to the shop before a long trip.
Change the oil and filter.
Test windshield wipers to be sure they are functioning properly.
Brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights should be checked.
Radiator pressure caps should be checked for a good seal, and belts and hoses should be checked for blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber.
Tires with low tread, cracks, or bulges should be replaced before traveling.
Air pressure in all tires, including the spare, also should be checked. Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure.
Inspect floor mats to ensure they are in their proper position. A driver’s mat can catch on the accelerator or brake.
When driving, watch the gas and temperature gauges. If the temperature gauge is close to or near the red zone, pull over.
Park in shady areas whenever possible.
Driving the speed limit and avoiding “jackrabbit starts” from a stop will avoid wasting gas.
When traveling with kids, take a cooler with healthy drinks and snacks. Stop every few hours to let kids and adults stretch their legs.
Never leave children in a parked car. Cars heats up quickly, and children are far more prone to heatstroke than adults.
Keep an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, towels, a hazard triangle, road flares, a distress sign, a jug of coolant, extra fluids such a brake and power steering fluid, and screwdrivers and wrenches in the trunk.
Don’t leave disposable lighters, batteries, or aerosol cans in a hot car. They can explode at temperatures above 100 degrees.
Last modified July 27, 2023