There are roughly 6 million car accidents in the U.S. each year. Most people associate car accidents with inclement weather. Snow and ice can make roads exceptionally dangerous, even for the most attentive drivers; however, for warm states like California and Florida, the summer poses a more significant threat. In 2018, there were 3,651 deaths from motor vehicles in California and around 2,400 in Florida, clearly indicating that the heat can be just as dangerous as the cold. With summer in full swing in both states, let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can keep yourself (and your vehicle) safe in the high temperatures and bright days.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Although daily global oil consumption is expected to grow (from 89 million barrels in 2012 up to 109 million barrels in 2035), preparing your vehicle means more than just ensuring it’s fueled up. With temperatures that can reach the low 90s, you’re going to need to check your engine; the following will protect the vital component from breakdowns due to overheating.
- Flush your cooling system on a regular basis.
- Get rid of old coolant, flush the engine with fresh water, and fill it the proper mixture of the coolant formula and water. Coolant (also known as antifreeze) has anti-corrosion chemicals to prevent rust buildup inside the engine.
- Check the hoses and belts.
- Never remove the cap from a hot radiator.
It’s also a smart idea to pack a “summer emergency” kit in your car just in case; include a mobile phone charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water, extra snacks and food, booster cables, emergency flares or reflectors, windshield wiper fluid, and a basic toolkit with a tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench. You never know when you’re going to need it!
Tires are uniquely susceptible to damage as a result of the sweltering Floridian heat; not only are they the only things that touch the ground (and the exceptionally hot asphalt), but they expand as the air within them heats up. If your tires are showing signs of wear or damage — such as worn tread, cracking, bulging, or breaking — they could burst. It’s extremely difficult to gain control over a vehicle that has experienced a blowout, especially when you’re traveling at high speeds, so accidents are a major concern.
Summer is a busy season; everyone is out and about, whether they’re strolling down the street or headed off on vacation. The additional traffic (combined with the often-distracting temperatures) increases the likelihood for an accident, especially considering the fact that construction crews are also out in full swing. Paying attention is more important than ever in such conditions; although the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has dropped 3% in recent years, it can still be hard to see the speeding motorists. Doing your best to stay safe means not doing anything that could impair your judgment (don’t drink or do drugs — drugs other than alcohol are involved in approximately 18% of motor vehicle deaths), and keeping your eyes peeled for any signs of a problem on the road.
Summer in Florida is about sunshine, beaches, and relaxation. Since you can’t enjoy any of those if you get in a car accident, preparing for the summer road risks can keep you safe and on the beach!