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What Are Safety Tips for Long Road Trips This Summer?

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., Have Close to $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements For Clients Just Like You .

For many residents across Delaware, summer means long-awaited vacations and scenic road trips. If you plan to hit the highway this summer, check out these tips for a safe and enjoyable experience. A bit of care, preparation, and some safety tips can now possibly spare you a frustrating breakdown or a dangerous accident later.

Plan Your Route

Take a few minutes to plan your trip and plug it in to your GPS system. This way you can avoid traffic accidents, construction, and other delays. Map your trip before you even start the car. You should never adjust the GPS or any other devices while driving.

While you are at it, check your favorite weather app for severe weather. You do not want to find yourself in the middle of a severe thunderstorm if you can help it. Share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member including your expected arrival time.

Service Your Vehicle

Prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures can impact the performance of your vehicle’s parts and systems. Vehicle breakdowns increase 20 percent in hot weather and up to 30 percent in coastal regions. Here are the parts of your car most susceptible to heat-related problems:


  1. Air Conditioning: Your AC unit works harder in the summer months to keep your vehicle cool. Have a trusted mechanic inspect your air conditioning system performance at the start of summer. Without AC, passengers are at risk for heat-related illnesses. Children and seniors are particularly vulnerable to the effects of high heat and humidity.


  1. Batteries: Hot temperatures impact the chemical processes that take place in auto batteries. It is more difficult for the battery to hold a charge and produce sufficient power to run the vehicle during the warmer months. Use a voltage meter to check your battery’s charge and avoid or replace it if necessary.


  1. Belts and Hoses: Vehicle hoses and belts degrade more rapidly when exposed to high temperatures. Check under the hood to make sure they are in good condition and free of rips, cracks, bulging, or blisters. Replace as needed.


  1. Fluids: Make a point to check your vehicle’s fluid levels every month or so, and always before a long road trip. Replace or refill these fluids if necessary:
  • Oil
  • Coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

To keep your engine running smoothly, consider replacing the oil with a thicker grade of oil before summer starts. Extreme heat tends to thin oil out, which means more friction and a greater risk of engine damage.


  1. Lights: Test the brake lights, turn signals, head lights, and flashers to make sure they are working properly. Remove dirt and debris from lights and windows with an auto-glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to improve visibility for you and other drivers.


  1. Tires: Tires are particularly susceptible to the sweltering summer weather. Heat causes the air inside tires to expand, leading to over-inflation and even bulging of the tires. Tires that are over-inflated or hot to the touch are at risk of exploding. Check the air pressure before you drive and look for excess wear and tear before every road trip. Properly-inflated tires are essential for keeping your vehicle running safely and efficiently during the hottest months of the year.


  1. Wiper Blades: Winter ice and snow can wreak havoc on windshield wiper blades. Once the cold months are over, blades may need to be replaced. The rubber should be one smooth piece, without warping, cracks, or tears. Test wipers to make sure blades remove water in one consistent sweep. Streaks are a sign the blade is not fully connecting with the class and should be changed.

Prepare for Emergencies

Even if you take steps to plan a safe route and are diligent about servicing your vehicle, you cannot predict or prevent every accident or breakdown. But getting stuck in in the summer heat while waiting for assistance can be downright dangerous.

Heat exhaustion is a condition caused when the body overheats. It is one of multiple heat-related illnesses caused by exposure to high temperatures and humidity. Symptoms includes rapid pulse, dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, and nausea.

If you breakdown or are involved in a crash this summer, follow these steps to stay cool and safe until help arrives.

  • Stop all activity.
  • Move to a shaded area.
  • Drink cool water or a replenishing sports drink.
  • Call 911.

Pack an Emergency Supply Kit

In addition to water and sports drinks, some other supplies will be useful should your vehicle break down or become disabled in a crash. Your summer road trip kit should include:

  • Basic tool kit
  • Blankets
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Portable cell phone charger
  • Road flares or reflective triangles
  • Sunscreen
  • Water

Keep this emergency supply kit in your vehicle all year long and swap out certain items as the weather changes. In the fall, add warm hats and gloves to your emergency kit.

Get Your Rest

Driving a car for hours at a time is mentally and physically tiring. As eager as you may be to get to your destination, take time to rest along the way. Driving while sleep-deprived can be just like driving drunk. Fatigue affects coordination, vision, decision-making, and reaction time. It endangers you, your passengers, and everyone on the road with you.

Break up long road trips with a hotel stop to rest and recharge. Take additional breaks every few hours to get out of the car, stretch your body, and have a snack. Take turns behind the wheel if you are traveling with another licensed driver. And of course, avoid speeding to save time. Speeding can land you a pricy traffic violation—and more importantly – increase your chance of a serious crash.

Summer travel should be fun and carefree—and it can be. Take these steps to make sure your vehicle is summer-ready and check your route to make sure it safe and free of hazards before you ever get behind the wheel.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., Have Close to $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements For Clients Just Like You

If you are injured in a summer road trip in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to damages. Our experienced Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar have more than 100 years of combined experience managing complex personal injury claims for clients across the state. Call us at 302-656-5445 or inquire online to schedule a free case review in our Wilmington or Millsboro offices. Our legal team represents clients in and around Dover, New Castle County, Sussex County, and across the state of Delaware.