Summer is a dangerous time of the year to be driving on state roads. This is especially true for teenage drivers, as we are currently in the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has recommendations that can help you and your loved ones avoid an accident while driving during the summer months.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Whether you have a motorcycle, truck or a regular passenger car, you should make it a priority to maintain your vehicle. Summer weather puts stress on engines and tires, both of which can increase your risk of an accident if they are not properly maintained. Consider going to your local mechanic for a tune-up if you are planning a road trip.
Program Your GPS in Advance
Far too many people wait until they are already on the road to put directions into their GPS systems or phones. The CHP recommends programming your directions before departing. In addition, you should prepare maps or backup directions if you lose your GPS signal or experience other technical difficulties.
The CHP also has an app on its website that can help you prepare for and avoid difficult traffic conditions.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Make sure you and all passengers are wearing seatbelts. Receiving a ticket should the last of your concerns. Seatbelts significantly decrease the risk of death or serious injuries during a collision. The CHP also recommends checking that your children are using the correct type of safety seat. You can double-check this information on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website.
There are plenty of behaviors that count as distracted driving. Using your phone, programming your GPS or infotainment system, changing the radio, eating, grooming and talking to other passengers are all examples. You should avoid these behaviors to reduce your risk of causing an accident. The CHP says to keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on driving.
Don’t Leave Pets or Children in the Vehicle
Summer weather conditions can turn cars into ovens. Each summer, children and pets die when they are left in vehicles for an extended period of time. Always check to make sure you did not leave a pet or your children behind when exiting the vehicle.
Prepare for Delays
You are more likely to encounter delays while driving during the summer. More people are on the road and you are likely to come across accidents, traffic congestion and construction zones. You should prepare in advance for these delays.
Prepare for Bad Drivers
Some drivers may be unfamiliar with the area and may drive erratically and unpredictably. Depending on when you are driving, keep in mind that there are more drunk drivers present around holidays. Labor Day Weekend is a great example of a holiday where you are more likely to encounter drunk drivers.
It is important to drive defensively and to prepare for the worst. This is especially true if you are driving around large vehicles, such as commercial trucks.
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