It’s getting hot out there as we head into the dog days of summer. Stay safe while riding out the heat wave with these road safety tips from Michelin:
Begin with a Safety Check
In extreme heat conditions, make sure you check the coolant and radiator. Sitting in traffic on a hot day can quickly overheat your car. If you have low coolant levels, your engine temperature can rise fast. Check under the hood and make sure that your coolant levels are where they should be.
While you’re at it – why not give your car a full check up? It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when the alternative is getting stuck on the side of the road during a heat wave. Before you hit the road, make sure your lights, fluids, hoses, windshield wipers and tires are all in good working order.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects vehicle performance but can cause tires to overheat. With extreme heat conditions outside, tires should be checked and inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
As a general rule, your tire pressure will gain or lose 1 PSI (pound per square inch) for every 10° F change in temperature. Check your air pressure when tires are ‘cold’ in the morning and compare that number to the sticker in your doorjamb before hitting the road. Don’t forget to check the air in your spare, too.
Fill up Your Gas Tank Early Morning or Late Night
($$$ Saver) Gas is cooler earlier in the day and becomes denser as temperatures rise. Fill up your gas tank in cooler temperatures to get more bang for your buck.
Pack an Emergency Kit
AAA recently released a study that found 40 percent of drivers don’t carry an emergency kit in their car. But you should. Your emergency kit should include enough bottled water to keep you hydrated during a road trip – this is especially important during extreme heat. Also, carry non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, reflective triangles and first aid kit. It’s also a good idea to program your cell phone with emergency numbers, including that of your roadside assistance provider, and keep a backup written list in your glove compartment.
Have Your Battery Tested
Extreme heat conditions can drain your battery. You can’t control the temperature outside, but you can visually inspect your battery to see any bulging, cracks or leaking. If your car battery is more than three years old, have it tested by a trained technician to avoid getting stuck on the road.