Stay alert while driving in the summer heat

Just like you, your car requires special attention when you drive it in during the hotter months. You both require extra fluids during the summer, so be sure to carry water bottles in your car, and to check your car’s engine coolant system and coolants so that its engine doesn’t over heat. Also check your car’s other fluids, including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are at appropriate levels.

You and your car should avoid driving with or in excessive heat where-ever possible. First, avoid driving on local roads, when the highways are available. Highways are typically better maintained and treated to deal with excessive heat. For the passengers, make sure your car’s air condition system has been checked by a certified technician, preferably a dealer.  Do not let your local oil change facility change out your air conditioning filter with an after-market filter. These can sometimes be rejected by your car’s computer system and cause all sorts of problems.

Under and over inflated tires are more likely to blow-out.  According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, most cars being driven do not have properly inflated tires as 85 percent of motorists do not know how to properly inflate their tires. Learn how to do this or have your dealer or service station check your tire inflation before any long trips.

On long trips, give your yourself and your car regular breaks. Stopping every hour during a long trip will allow your car’s engine to cool off, and give you a break needed for you to stay alert while driving.

Avoid boredom, sluggishness, and sleepiness caused by heat, by taking frequent stops, changing drivers, staying hydrated and keeping high protein snacks to avoid drops in your blood sugar. Beware of any sign you’ve dozed off for even a second, such as when your car drifts over to the other lane, or you space out, only to jerk alert and realize you don’t know where you are. If one of these happens, get off the road immediately, and either find a safe place to nap or change drivers!   According to, driving while sleep deprived is a significant contributor to driving accidents, with some studies indicating it causes between 15 and 25% of all driver-caused accidents!  For more on this issue, see: 

Also, read all medications before taking them when on a long road trip to ensure they do not impair your driving ability.  As a word of caution, don’t start that long vacation road trip if you are suffering a right leg, foot or hip pain! A little ache can become a big problem in as little as an hour, and driving while in pain can definitely impair your over-all attentiveness.  Finally, and obviously, don’t drink and drive or drive while impaired by alcohol. While illegal, it can also lead to drowsiness while driving, slow your reaction time, and affect your judgment.  All of which are critical to driving safely in order to protect not only your precious cargo, but everyone else on the road.  

With a little precaution, you and your car will arrive safely at your vacation destination!