Summer driving safety tips

Share these tips with friends and family:

  1. Take a few minutes every month—especially before long drives—to check the air pressure in your tires, including the spare.
  2. At the recommended inflation pressure, tires will last longer and be less likely to fail. You’ll also enjoy better fuel efficiency.
  3. When checking your tires, refer to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. It can be found on the door post, fuel door, glove box, or in the owners’ manual. The tire pressure displayed on the sidewalls of your tires is the recommended maximum pressure, and not the correct pressure for everyday driving.
  4. Check your tire treads for excessive or uneven wear and foreign objects.
  5. Check your tire walls for irregularities, such as cuts, gouges, and bulges.
  6. You can check the tread on your tires with a Lincoln penny. The grooves should be deep enough so that the tread at least reaches the top of Lincoln’s head when the penny is placed in the groove head first.
  7. Tires have built-in wear bars that appear when the tread is too worn. If you see the wear bars, it’s time to replace the tire.
  8. Low-tread and bald tires need to be replaced immediately. They’re unsafe at any time of the year.
  9. Invest in a real spare tire and keep it properly inflated. Those “donuts” that often come with today’s new cars aren’t meant for the long haul.
  10. Out-of-balance or misaligned tires and wheels can cause uneven wear and handling problems. Have a professional check your alignment and balance.
  11. Check the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit for your vehicle when loading up for trips. Passengers count toward that limit. Overloading your vehicle can cause excessive heat in your tires and tire failure.
  12. Check your coolant level. Better yet, have your vehicle checked out—air conditioning, belts, battery—by a professional.
  13. When leaving your car parked, crack the windows a bit and park in the shade, if possible.
  14. If you’re stopping for shopping, leave your pets at home. During warm weather, the inside of a parked car is no place for man nor beast.
  15. You can ruin your engine if it’s overheating and you continue to drive. If you think your engine is overheating, pull over, turn off the engine—but don’t open the radiator cap.
  16. To divert some heat away from a hot engine, you can turn on the heater.
  17. In hot weather, don’t drive at high speeds for long periods of time. It’s bad for your engine and your gas mileage. Carry some extra coolant and oil in the trunk.
  18. Driving in hot weather is tough on motor oil. Ask your mechanic and consult your owner’s manual about using a heavier grade of oil in the summer.
  19. Before you try to tow, make sure your vehicle is rated to handle the weight. Pulling a heavy load at a high speed can be tough on your transmission and engine.
  20. Be ready for a breakdown with basic tools, a flashlight, flares, reflective triangles, jumper cables, some nonperishable food, drinking water, a first-aid kit, and other items both handy and essential.