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Warm Weather Driving Tips

For many people, the summer usually means vacations and summer road trips. Even though the road conditions can be seen as much easier to drive in during the summer compared to the colder seasons in Michigan, summer driving brings an abundance of challenges that many people do not pay attention to, and they usually pay the price for it. On average, approximately 30% more car accidents occur in the summer months than in winter mainly due to an increased number of cars on the road and the abundance of distractions in the summer. Many other factors also play a role in the danger of traveling during this time of year, including more young drivers on the road, pedestrians, construction zones, and increased road trips/vacations. Here are 5 tips to help avoid the dangers of driving in the heat and keep you and your family safe on the road during the warmer months of the year.

1st Tip: Maintain Car Maintenance

You know that extreme cold weather can take a toll on your car, but did you know that extreme heat can do the same or worse? The most important thing to do to avoid heat related problems on the road in the warmer months of the year is to inspect your vehicle before you take it on the road. First, check the tires and batteries in your car. Tire tread is extremely important during the summer, especially on a rainy day, and higher temperatures will be more taxing on your cars’ tires and batteries, causing them to diminish quicker than usual. Also, make sure that your air conditioner is running properly with an appropriate amount of coolant and other important fluids such as motor oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Topping all of these off before you start your drive is essential to avoid a breakdown or any sort of malfunction in your vehicle. Lastly, be sure to clean all windows to decrease glare and cool the interior of your car before you start your drive to avoid driving in extreme heat or adjusting the climate of the car while driving.

2nd Tip: Stay Alert

While driving on the road, especially during the summer months, it is extremely important to always stay alert and drive defensively. The abundance of cars on the road and reckless driving demonstrated by young, inexperienced drivers can create increased danger to you and your passengers. Some ways to steer clear of these dangers include staying off your phone while driving, maintaining a safe following distance, braking early, obeying the speed limits, being aware of your surroundings, and expecting the unexpected. You never know what the drivers around you are going to do, especially during the summertime when there are so many tourists on the road, so you must always assume the worst. Some other crucial aspects to maintaining safety on the roads include leaving early to avoid rushed driving, knowing your route before you start your journey, and keeping a level head to refrain from any sort of road rage that may take away your ability to drive cautiously.

3rd Tip: Pedestrian Safety

One of the most important changes in road conditions from winter to summer in Michigan is the exponential increase in pedestrians on the road. It is always extremely crucial to be aware of any pedestrians in and around the road because there are so many in the warmer months in Michigan. By law, pedestrians always have the right of way in crosswalks. However, it is heavily advised to always yield to the pedestrian unless it results in you putting the people in your car in danger. Always be sure to double check the crosswalks for people, no matter the situation, and always avoid passing another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, as they may be stopped for pedestrians crossing that you cannot see.

4th Tip: Construction Zones

Another huge aspect of driving during the summer months in Michigan is road construction. Construction zones seem to be on every corner in Michigan during the summer, and it is extremely important to be cautious when passing through them because they can cause increased danger for everyone involved. Last year, Michigan saw 7,436 work zone related traffic accidents, a 28% increase over last year, as well as 23 work zone fatalities, a 15% increase from the year before. When driving in a construction zone, be sure to limit distractions, avoid tailgating other vehicles, keep a safe distance between your car and the workers, and follow the signs that tell you the adjusted speed limit, where to go, etc. Also, always expect the unexpected because you never know when the speed limits may fluctuate drastically, or when there may be a worker on or near the road. Lastly, and most importantly, try to constantly remain calm and patient when driving through construction zones, or the traffic caused by them, because driving recklessly with emotion is going to do nothing for you besides put the people in your car in danger.

5th Tip: Weather Conditions

The last tip is regarding the weather conditions that come with summertime driving. It can get extremely hot during the summer months in Michigan. When driving or preparing for a drive in these conditions, always keep sunglasses in your car, constantly keep your car’s interior cool, and avoid leaving a child in the car, unattended, for any period of time. Another part of summer driving that a lot of people underestimate is driving in the rain. In 2020, there were 16,820 car accidents that occurred under rainy conditions and 29,900 the year before. In the United States, approximately 75% of all car crashes occur on wet pavement, with 47% of those crashes occurring during rainy conditions. Wet roads cause your tires to lose traction, and make everything more slippery, resulting in increased danger. Also, when you are experiencing heavy rain, puddles may form, and, if you are going fast enough, you can hydroplane over the puddles, causing you to lose control of your car. Vehicles with wider tires are usually more prone to hydroplaning as opposed to vehicles with more narrow tires. To avoid hydroplaning, try your best to avoid puddles on the road, and when you are forced to drive through one, slow down as much as possible before entering the puddle. If you are hydroplaning, be sure to keep the wheel steady and let your car slow down naturally, without doing any more than lightly applying the brakes.

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