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Summer Weather Means On-The-Road Accidents

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Unread 07.23.09, 06:19 AM
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Summer Weather Means On-The-Road Accidents

Summer Weather Means On-The-Road Accidents

Summer vacations. The 4th of July. Labor Day. They're traditional travel times for NRA families.
Yet according to safety experts, summer travel too often puts loved ones at significant risk. Many of us imagine our roadways to be at their most dangerous during treacherous winter weather conditions such as snow and ice storms.
But the opposite is generally true.
According to the National Safety Council, fatal accidents in the United States generally spike to their highest levels in July. Independence Day celebrations and the Labor Day weekend are often particularly dangerous.
Of course, you can't eliminate the risk of accidents. But you CAN do something to help prevent them.
Sunny Days Can Be Deceiving
Imagine a sunny summer's drive. Not a cloud in the sky. The road unfurls before you in an endless ribbon. What could go wrong? Plenty.
OVERHEATING
Engine overheating is one of the major causes of on-the-road break downs. Before heading off on a summer trip, make sure to check the level, condition and concentration of your vehicle's coolant. (A 50/50 mix of coolant and water is usually recommended.)

Of course, if your engine does overheat, do NOT remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.
TIRE CARE
Long trips with heavier loads at hotter temperatures can put significant strain on your tires. Check your tires regularly to make sure they're properly inflated.

In addition, it's important to make sure your tires are wearing evenly and have enough tread. A general rule of thumb when checking tire treads is that the treads should be deep enough to touch at least the top of Lincoln's head when a penny is inserted head-first into the tread.
SUDDEN STORMS
Hot weather can create pop-up storms. If you're driving during a sudden summer storm, stay alert for flash flooding and severe weather like tornadoes.

Never drive across a road with water flowing over it. Rushing water may hide the fact that the road bed has washed away. If your car stalls in water, abandon it immediately and head for higher ground.
Summer Nights Bring TRIPLE Accident Threat
According to the National Safety Council, fatal motor vehicle accidents are THREE times more likely to happen at night than during the day.
That's because safe driving depends on vision and driver reaction time. When vision is impaired by darkness ... and reaction times are slowed due to drowsiness or fatigue, the results can be deadly.
But you CAN take steps to lower your risks:
  • Be ready for nighttime driving by keeping your vehicle's headlights, tail lights and windows clean. In addition to helping you see better, brighter lights can help other drivers see you better.
  • Make sure your headlights are aimed properly. Mis-aligned headlights can blind other drivers ... putting you more at risk for a head-on collision. In addition, poorly focused headlights can significantly reduce your already-lower nighttime vision.
  • Don't overdrive your headlights. You need to be able to stop your vehicle within the distance illuminated by your headlights. If you're travelling so fast that it takes you LONGER to stop than you can see in the beams of your headlights, you risk crashing into objects in the "blind zone" just ahead.
Safe driving habits and proper vehicle maintenance can help you significantly reduce your risk of an accident - even during busy summer travel times.

From the NRA's quarterly newsletter: "The Guardian."
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