Summer road trips are a well-loved tradition for many. To make sure a trip is enjoyable, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds everyone that prevention and planning for summer driving may take time up front, but can spare drivers from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown or worse.
“Get your vehicle ready, plan your route, and above all, drive safely,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “When you are the driver, your only responsibility is to keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and concentrate on the task of driving.”
Summer driving can be more dangerous than other seasons for several reasons. Vacationing drivers, unfamiliar with an area, may also drive erratically or unpredictably. More teenagers, who are inexperienced drivers, are also more likely to be on the road.
The CHP recommends:
– Make sure vehicle maintenance is up-to-date. Summer temperatures can put serious stress on engines. Tires, air conditioning, belts and hoses, fluid levels, interior and exterior lights, and wiper blades must all be in good condition.
– Program any global positioning systems, whether in your phone or in your car, in advance. The California Department of Transportation has a mobile app for traffic information, or visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov for highway conditions. Prepare for device malfunctions or loss of connection by knowing your route before you leave and packing maps.
– Buckle up! Be sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt. Check that young passengers are using the correct child safety seat for their height and weight.
– Never leave pets, children, or the elderly alone in a car for any length of time. California laws address how to handle situations in which children or animals are left in vehicles. However, the best approach if you see an unattended child or animal is to call 911.
– Expect road construction and plan for delays. Remember to “be work zone alert” and move over or slow down when passing any stationary vehicle displaying emergency or warning lights, including emergency vehicles, Caltrans vehicles and tow trucks.