Summer Driving Tips
The summer driving season is here! Hitting the open road for adventure just seems woven into the fabric of the American Dream. But before you merge into traffic, we have some tips to help your drive be safer and help your car operate at peak efficiency. Here are six tips for your road trip:
- Check for Recalls
Owners may not always know that their vehicle has been recalled. A recall is when the manufacturer discovers a defect or feature on a car model with an unexpected failure point. Addressing recalls helps your car be safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a free VIN lookup tool that lets you enter a vehicle identification number to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years. Check for safety recalls on your vehicle by searching now at NHTSA.gov/Recalls.
- Get Your Car Serviced
Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations can go a long way toward preventing breakdowns. If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good condition to travel. If not—or you don’t know the service history of the vehicle you plan to drive—schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with a mechanic you trust.
- Tire Safety
Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver’s side door frame. The correct pressure is not always the number listed on the tire! Be sure to check tires when they are cold (when the car hasn’t been driven for at least three hours.)
- Keep Kids Safe from Heatstroke
Heatstroke can occur when a child is left in a parked vehicle too long—or gets in on their own—and becomes trapped. Never leave children alone in the car—not even for a few minutes—even with the engine running. Teach children that vehicles are not places to play. Vehicles heat up quickly; if the outside temperature is in the low 80s, the temperature inside the vehicle can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes—even with a window rolled down. A child’s body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's, so you can’t always rely on your senses to determine what’s safe for a child.
- Backing Out/Parking
Before you back out of a driveway or parking spot, walk around your vehicle to check for children running and playing or toys and items in your driveway that could damage your car. When using a backup camera, remember to also look over your shoulders. Kids, pets and objects may be out of view but still in the path of your vehicle. When children play, they are often oblivious to cars and trucks around them. They may believe that motorists will watch out for them.
- Opt for Safety
Safety technology continues to advance. When shopping for a new vehicle, packages may be available that include safety features such as lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, collision avoidance with pedestrian detection and cross-traffic warning. If they are available as an upgrade but do not come as standard equipment, purchasing the upgrades may be worth it. If you’re not sure, ask your dealer about available safety tech. Some features may give you discounts on your insurance rates too.
Before hitting the open road, make sure your insurance needs are up to date. Check that your personal information and contact info are correct, your level of coverage meets your needs, and inform your insurer of life changes such as marriage or college graduation.
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