It's summertime in Missouri, which inevitably brings high humidity and soaring temperatures to our state. Our Joplin personal injury lawyers want to remind Missouri drivers that extra precautions are necessary when operating motor vehicles on hot, black pavement. Many heat-related emergencies that occur on the road can be prevented when drivers are proactive about summer car safety. In this post, you'll find a few useful tips to help keep you and your passengers safe.
• Park in the shade. Parking in the summer sun can cause your vehicle to heat up quickly. The heat can be absorbed in your vehicle's interior and the glass can act as an insulator, raising the temperature to deadly levels within a very short time. A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that a car's internal temperature can reach 116 degrees within 60 minutes even when the temperature is relatively cool (72 degrees). When possible, park in the shade to help reduce the heat in your vehicle. You can also use sunshades or tint your windows to help keep your vehicle cooler.
• Don't leave kids or animals alone in the car. Because hot cars can be so dangerous during the summer months, you should never leave children or animals unattended in vehicles. Since 1998, 575 American children have died of heatstroke after being left in a hot car. Again, even if you think it's not that hot - and you crack the windows - don't risk leaving your child or pet in your vehicle, even for a short period of time. And if you see a child or animal alone in an unattended vehicle, you should immediately call 911 and notify authorities.
• Service your vehicle on a regular basis. It is very important to keep your car serviced and well-maintained, since the summer heat can put added stress on a vehicle's systems. Check your vehicle's fluids, belts and battery on a regular basis. Also, keep a close eye on your tires, giving special attention to air pressure and tread. Tires can become worn on the hot black pavement of the roads, and batteries' worst enemies are heat and vibration. The best way to keep car maintenance up is to have regular inspections.
• Carry supplies in case of an emergency. Heat can cause issues at any time, and it's always best to be prepared for the unexpected. Safety officials recommend traveling with items like a first aid kit, a cell phone, extra drinking water, snacks, and a few emergency tools, like a flashlight, flares, and jumper cables. (Click here for more recommendations.)
Heat is unavoidable, but heat emergencies are very preventable with proper maintenance and safety. By taking steps to prepare yourself - and your vehicle - for summer temperatures, you can help ensure you arrive safely and comfortably at your destination.