Texans are used to extreme summer heat. However, this year has brought record-breaking temperatures throughout the state and many parts of the country for days on end.
That’s why it’s crucial to take care of yourself and your car whether you’re running errands around town or taking a late-summer road trip. This can help you be prepared for just about anything. Let’s look at some recommendations from safety experts:
Don’t drive if you’re suffering the physical effects of extreme heat
People can more easily suffer heat stress and other heat-related illnesses when temperatures are in the triple digits. Often, they don’t realize how ill they are. If you’re feeling light-headed, dizzy or sick, don’t drive.
It takes time for a car to cool off after starting up the air conditioning. Parts of the interior – like the steering wheel – may even be too hot to touch at first.
If you must park your car outside without any shelter, use a windshield cover to keep out the worst of the sun. Keeping a towel over the steering wheel and maybe on the passenger seat can also help. It’s not a bad idea to have a pair of lightweight gloves to use if parts of your vehicle (outside or in) are too hot to touch.
Don’t neglect your tire pressure
Other effects of extreme heat on a vehicle are less obvious but highly dangerous. Extreme heat can increase tire pressure. Did you know that a ten-degree increase in the outdoor temperature can add two pounds of pressure to tires?
You don’t want your tire pressure too low, either. The combination of low tire pressure and extreme heat can cause a blowout, which can easily lead to a crash. Further, having to get out of the car and change a tire in extreme heat can be dangerous to your health and safety.
Too many traffic fatalities occur when someone is outside of their vehicle on or even near the road. That’s another reason why you don’t want to ignore signs that your engine is overheating until it’s too late.
By making sure that you and your vehicle are safe to drive, you can be better able to deal with potential road damage caused by the heat and drivers who aren’t as conscientious as you are. If you’re injured in a crash caused by another driver, don’t rush into a settlement that may not be sufficient until you’ve sought legal guidance.