Driving Safely in the Summer Heat

As with any Mississippi summer, you are probably looking for ways to beat the heat!  With temperatures climb higher, we’re all looking for some ways to cool down. Getting into a hot car and taking a long road trip in a warm car can feel even worse. BUT ~ so is having your car break down and needing emergency roadside service with the sun beating down on you.

If you’re planning on taking a road trip anytime this summer, here are a few tips about how to beat the heat and take caution in the sun, as you’re driving down the road:

1. Make sure to grab your cell phone and other emergency items.
Most of us ALWAYS have our phones ~ but if you are like me ~ you forget it sometimes!  Having your phone will get you quick help so that you don’t have to suffer in the sun in the event your car breaks down. Also plan on having an emergency kit that includes flashlights, tools, blankets and other items that you might need in case of crisis.

2. Pack extra water bottles and snacks in your car.
Make sure that you have extra water bottles in your car when heading out for a road trip. It’s also helpful to keep some snacks. This will be good not only in event of emergency, but also for your physical health as you drive down the road. Although you’re not directly in the sun, you are exposed to much sunlight through your car’s windows and can quickly become dehydrated.

Your car windows actually act as insulators, and can trap the heat in the cabin of your car, creating you and your passengers to become overheated and uncomfortable. To take even more caution, fill BPA-free water bottles to keep in your car; as it’s a health hazard to drink water from warm plastic water bottles that contain BPA chemicals.

3. Check your tire pressure regularly.
Before your long driving trip, (or each time you get gas) make sure to check your tire pressure. Because the tires are filled with air, the tires will expand when driven and parked in the sun. Your tire pressure not only impacts your gas mileage, but it keeps your tires ‘cooler’ and will also have an effect on the performance of your car. Make sure your tires are not over inflated because of the heat expansion.

Most importantly make sure your tires are not UNDER inflated. The air in tires are designed to keep you tire from reach high enough temps to destroy your tire. UNDER INFLATED TIRES is the #1 cause for blowouts on the highway. A lot of times you can tell by just looking at the tire. You have to use a good gauge to know if your tire is aired up properly. You can drop by one of our locations during business hours and we will be happy to check your pressure and make any adjustments to the pressure if needed.

4. Perform air conditioning checks on your car.
Do not head out for a long road trip without checking your air conditioner in extreme heat.  Our ASE technicians will make sure your coolant and all air conditioning parts are working well and can endure a long trip.

5. Use window shades to cool passengers in the car.
Some cars are designed with excellent rear-seat ventilation and other cars do a poor job of cooling off the back seat. To help cool down your car, and especially for passengers in the back seats, invest in a few window shades. These shades are removable and will block the sunlight to keep your car’s interior cooled down. If you want a full-time sun shade, look into tinted windows, as this will reflect the sun away from your car. Another helpful tool is a windshield cover that will reflect the sun away from the dashboard when your vehicle is parked in the sun.

6. Park your car under shady spots.
When driving around a parking lot, try to find a parking spot under a tree or in the shade. By parking in the shade, you can help reduce your car’s internal temperature by several degrees. Cracking the windows or leaving doors open will not help you cool down your car as much as parking in the shade. Take out stuff that will melt BEFORE you leave the house!!

7. Drive a lighter-colored car without leather seats in summer.
If you’re in the market for a newer car, or if you have several cars to choose from when driving in summer heat, consider driving a lighter colored car. Darker cars absorb the heat, and so both the mechanics of the car and car’s cabin temperature become warmer if outfitted with darker colors. Lighter colors like white cars reflect the suns rays better. Leather seats are a luxury in many vehicles, but can also become very warm in the summer heat. Several car owners with leather seats have to place towels or cloths over the seats just to sit down. You may want to place something over the steering wheel as well.

A final note about driving in the heat is to be very careful when your passengers include babies and pets. Pets and babies must never be left alone in a car in extreme temperatures. They cannot regulate their temperatures as well as adults, nor can they open the doors and windows for air. It’s important to have your air conditioning system working well, and invest in window shades, if you’ll be traveling with pets and babies in the heat.

No matter where you go, we hope you have a safe (and cool) summer.