Summer is upon us. For many people that means extra driving whether it is to fun events around town with the kids or even a cross-country road trip. This post with safe summer driving tips is designed to help you and your family get involved in making your car summer ready. From checking your tire pressure to getting your kids involved in giving your car a deep summer clean, here are ten tips to make the drive safer and more enjoyable.
10 Safe Summer Driving Tips
1. Check your fluid levels.
Make sure your fluids are all topped off for best car performance. The radiator fluid level is especially important to check as it needs water and antifreeze coolant to cool your car engine. You can get simple instructions for how to check your car’s coolant level here. And while you are at it, you may want to bring water along with you on your summer expeditions to keep your own fluid levels topped off!
2. Check tire air pressure.
Properly inflated tires are important to both safety and getting your best gas mileage. According to fueleconomy.gov, “you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure.”
3. Get an oil change.
Getting regularly scheduled oil changes based on your manufacturer’s recommendations is very important to the health of your car engine and to keeping it running at it’s best. Also be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil to improve gas mileage.
4. Check tire treads.
Another of the most important safe summer driving tips is to be sure your tires are safe. If you have older tires you can use the coin test to see if you need new tires.
5. Keep your trunk empty.
If you are driving around town, keep your trunk empty so you don’t have to haul extra weight and lower your gas mileage. If you are going on a road trip, empty your trunk before loading in the new luggage.
6. Keep your car junk-free.
This tip is only great for enjoying your car more, it is also important for safety. If you kid’s baseball or your dog’s bone roll under the seat and into the front seat area, it can become a safety hazard to the driver.
7. Tips for Traveling Safely in Rain & Summer Storms.
When it is raining your tires can loose traction and grip on the road. The best safety tip for driving in the rain is to slow down! The faster you go the longer it takes to stop and adjust on a wet pavement. Try to stay in the middle lanes because water generally pools to the side lanes. Be careful when driving behind large trucks and buses, the spray coming off them can obscure your vision.
During heavy rain, where even the windshield wipers aren’t helping much, pull into a rest stop, protective area like an oasis or even as far to the edge of the road as possible with your lights on so other drives can see you and wait out the storm. Brake lightly, when you need to stop or slow by maintaining a light pressure on the brake pedal. If you skid, remain calm, gently ease off the gas and steer carefully in the direction you want your car to be.
8. Get a car wash.
Don’t let dirt and bugs affect your vision. Make sure to get a car wash or at least use the windshield cleaner at your gas station to keep you windshield easy to see through.
9. Keep a roadside safety kit in your car.
It is always good to be prepared for emergencies in case they happen so keep a roadside emergency kit in your trunk.
10. Make sure your gas tank is at least half full.
My grandmother always told me to make sure my gas tank was at least half full and if it ever drops under, go fill it up. I try to follow that advice, when I can, just to make sure I never run out of gas.
Crack your windows when you park and/or use a sunshade.
If you feel safe doing so, leave your windows cracked just a small amount so the car doesn’t turn into a huge oven while you run into the store. A dash sunshade also is a great way to keep your car a bit cooler and protect the health of your dashboard.
You may also enjoy reading Autotrader’s list of top summer safety and car care tips. Are you going on any summer road trips? Which safe summer driving tips do you need to do to get ready?
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Janet W. says
My favorite tip is the Air Filter. It’s a good idea to get a qualified technician to clean or change your pollen filters or cabin filtration systems.
I like the tip about replacing wipers – I think that’s usually low priority for people but it makes a big difference in visibility during poor weather.
“It’s also wise to make sure your insurance and driving license are up to date”. We actually went on vacation before our reminder to renew reached us and had our insurance expire while on holiday.
Octavia B says
Excellent article with great summer driving tips. The one I struggle with is #8- Get a car wash. As you can imagine I don’t was my car nearly as much as I should. I, along with other motorist, forget that safety and cleanliness go hand-in-hand.
BRIAN E. says
Living in the desert southwest the “inspect the state of the hoses and the coolant reservoir” tip is an important one for us…also, check your car battery, because extreme hot weather can have a negative effect on it’s cranking power !
Stephanie Phelps says
I like 9. Clean the Car
Those long, balmy evenings when the sun is a huge, orange orb hanging low in a pinky-blue sky sound blissful. But they can also be a hazard, especially when your car’s windshield is dirty. Even from the inside, that haze will diffuse the light and make things hard to see. That grime has a tendency to build up over a long period, so we don’t really notice it. Things look much sharper after your car has had a good wash, though. Keeping the exterior clean also protects the paintwork from the sun’s rays, as well as any damage caused by birds and insects. Finish off the cleaning with a good-quality wax. Car care makes financial sense in the long run.
Susan Smith says
5. Air-Conditioning System, I like this tip because you don’t want to be traveling in hot weather and your air conditioning goes out on you.
Karen M says
The Dashboard Sunshade is my favorite tip. Living in the red hot desert we appreciate anything that will keep the car cooler. Thanks
Jennifer Reed says
My favorite tip is to keep the vehicle exterior clean to protect the paintwork from the sun’s rays, as well as any damage caused by birds and insects. Also to keep the windshield streak and haze free so the summer setting sun does not blind you while driving.
hazell perez says
I love the tip that If a scheduled service is coming up, think about getting it done before a long drive very important to keep my family safe and we can enjoy. All of them are awesome tips.
jesse johnson says
Keep an eye on your coolant. Air conditioning puts drag on engine and makes it run hot. Low coolant can blow an engine in the summer
Leah Shumack says
My favorite tip is about the wiper blades cause it’s one that is often overlooked until you need them!
Katherine Riley says
I love the tip about checking your wiper blades. We always change them before every road trip. Nothing like not knowing where your are and not being able to see in a rain storm.
J. Ivy Boyter says
The car wash tip is probably the most overlooked one. It definitely helps to be able to see fully out the windows.