For parents in Texas, keeping their families safe on the road during the summer involves navigating some unique challenges. With temperatures often rising well into the triple digits, summer driving can put extra strain on vehicles and drivers alike. The La Porte car accident attorneys share some essential summer safety driving tips to help parents in the Lone Star State ensure a safer travel experience for themselves and their young passengers.

Vehicle Maintenance is Key

Before the heat of the summer sets in, it is crucial to have your vehicle serviced. Check the air conditioning system to ensure it is functioning correctly to keep your family cool and comfortable. Heat can exacerbate existing issues, so make sure to:

  • Check your coolant: Make sure your car has enough coolant and that it’s the correct type for your vehicle. The coolant should be replaced according to your manufacturer’s schedule.
  • Inspect your tires: Hot roads can increase the pressure of your tires, leading to a higher risk of blowouts. Check your tire pressure regularly, and don’t forget the spare! Look for signs of wear and replace tires if necessary.
  • Test your battery: High temperatures can drain your car’s battery. Have it tested and replace if it’s not holding a charge or showing signs of corrosion.

Plan Around the Heat

Whenever possible, try to drive during the cooler parts of the day to reduce risks related to high temperatures. Early mornings or evenings are ideal times as the sun is less intense, making for a cooler and potentially safer drive.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can be a serious health risk during a Texas summer, and it can also affect your ability to focus and react quickly while driving. Keep plenty of water in the car, and encourage your children to drink regularly. Avoid heavy meals and sugary drinks which can lead to lethargy and distractibility.

Protect Your Passengers

Kids can be particularly vulnerable to summer heat. Since their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, it’s important to:

Never leave children in a parked car: Temperatures in a car can climb quickly and can be fatal.

Use sunshades on windows: These can help keep direct sunlight off your children, keeping them cooler and protecting them from harmful UV rays.

Buckle Up Safely

Ensure every passenger is properly secured in a seat belt or an appropriate car seat for their age, height, and weight. Texas law requires all children younger than 8 years old, unless taller than 4’9″, to be in a child safety seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Double-check the seat installation and fit before every trip, as the heat can cause the materials to expand and loosen.

Drive During Off-Peak Hours

Consider driving during off-peak traffic ties to avoid the stress (and additional heat) of being stuck in traffic. Remember, stop-and-go driving can overwork your car’s cooling system.

Be Prepared for the Sun’s Glare

Sun glare can be particularly hazardous during the summer months. Always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to protect your eyes and improve visibility. Use your car’s sun visors and consider applying a clear, glare-reducing window film to keep visibility high and heat low.

Practice Defensive Driving

Summer often means more vehicles on the road, including tourists and teen drivers. Keep a safe following distance, and be extra cautious at intersections. Be prepared for the unexpected, especially in heavy vacation traffic and near recreational areas.

Teach Your Teen Drivers About Summer Safety

If you have young drivers in the family, make sure they understand the unique risks summer driving presents. Discuss the importance of taking breaks during long travels and the danger of driving while fatigued or dehydrated.

Equip Your Car for Emergencies

Always have an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes:

  • Water and non-perishable snacks
  • First-aid supplies
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • A fully charged mobile phone and charger
  • Jumper cables
  • Tools for changing a tire
  • A reflective triangle or flares

By taking these precautions, you’ll not only protect your family from the sweltering Texas heat, but you’ll also build safer driving practices that benefit everyone on the road. Summertime should be a season of joy and relaxation. With the right precautions and preparedness, parents can ensure their summer driving experiences are safe and enjoyable for the whole family. Remember, the safety of your loved ones is always worth the additional effort. So, inspect your vehicle, pack your sunscreen, and hydrate — adventure awaits, but safety always comes first on the Texas roads.