Are you ready for summer vacation? While we’re all excited about summer finally getting here and are vividly imagining ourselves at the beach this time of year, we also need to be mindful of travel safety. As you prepare to visit family and friends in surrounding states, it is important to be aware of heat-related dangers on the road.
Summer is typically known as the most dangerous driving season; approximately 91% of vacation travel is by personal vehicle. This fact, coupled with increased temperatures, mean tire blowouts become more common. To help you prepare for your vacation travel we have put together a few tips to help you prepare for this summer driving season.
Tips for Summer Vacation Travel
If you are traveling during the summer, be sure to keep the following tips in mind before loading up your family, pets, kayak and bicycles:
PREPARE FOR YOUR DRIVE
Think through your route and consider which days will be best to travel so that you can avoid crowded freeways where possible. While we hope you make it to your destination without issues, pack for the worst case scenario. Bring extra water, food, sunscreen, portable phone chargers and a portable tire repair kit.
CHECK YOUR TIRES
Make sure that your car has gas and is in good working condition before you leave for a trip. While many people remember to fuel up or check the oil, a lot of families forget, or simply overlook, to check their tire pressure and tire tread.
It is recommended that tires be kept at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure level for safety reasons and also to increase fuel efficiency for each mile traveled. As an additional precaution, it is important to replace tires when needed. To check if your tires need to be replaced, insert a quarter into the tire treads with the Washington head toward the tire. If no portion of the head is covered, the tire is below 1/8 of an inch and it is recommended that you replace your tires.
Families should be especially attentive of their tire tread and mileage if they are traveling long distances, as heat can play a large factor in tire health.
MANAGE YOUR VEHICLE’S PAYLOAD CAPACITY
Pay attention to the payload capacity of your vehicle as you pack for your vacation. Owners should refer to the owner’s manual to determine the maximum weight of all cargo and passengers to ensure that the vehicle can safely carry the total weight. The view of the driver should also be considered, so double check that the driver can clearly see out of all windows, including the rear windshield.
REGISTER YOUR TIRES WITH THE MANUFACTURER
Unfortunately, most independent tire dealers decline to register their tires with the manufacturers, so owners are not notified of potential dangers in the event of a recall. The good news is, you can register your tires on your own! Just visit the manufacturer’s website, where you will need the DOT numbers for your tires and the dealer information/sales receipt, and fill out the form. Click below to find the tire registration page for some of the major U.S. tire manufacturers:
Read more about What Causes Tire Blowouts and how to prevent them.
DON’T FORGET THE WEATHER
Summer storms and sun showers are often in the forecast during the warmer months of the year. During and after rainfall, roads become slippery because the rain mixes with dirt and oil from road ways, and it can take up to 30 minutes of steady rain to wash dirt and oil away. Another danger is hydroplaning, particularly during heavy rainfall. Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the surface of the road, causing a loss of traction and preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs, such as braking or turning. Thus it is important to slow down and pay close attention to other drivers on the road if it rains while you are driving.
At Pope McGlamry, we want you and your family to stay as safe as possible during this summer travel season. In the event you do experience a tire blowout, or are involved in a wreck, contact us. We see a lot of tire blowouts during the summer months, which can sometimes be caused by a defective tire. Because the flaws in defective tires are often internal rather than external, a normal inspection may not uncover them.
If you or someone you love has been in an accident involving the blowout of a defective tire, call 877-285-7656 for a case review with our legal experts or submit your case online.