Top 5 summer driving tips

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Did you know that more fatalities happen on Canadian roads in summer than at any other time of the year? Yes, even more than during the winter holiday season. This may be because roads are busier in summer and more people take longer trips.

As summer brings with it new challenges for drivers, make sure you are prepared. A healthy mix of precaution and vigilance will make you enjoy summer driving and help maintain your cool. Here are our five tips:

  1. Prepare your vehicle
    Be sure to replace your snow tires to your three-season (or all-season) tires. Check if they are in good condition and are properly inflated. If you are going on a long trip, fine-tune your vehicle on your own or have it checked by a professional. Important areas to check are fluid levels (especially your car’s coolant to prevent overheating), tire pressure, and the air conditioning unit. It is also essential that all lights, including signal lights, work. Read 10 Easy steps to prepare for a road trip to help you get ready.
  2. Stay cool
    Manitoba sun can be strong and harsh. Direct sunlight on your eyes or glare on your windshield can be dangerous. You may not be able to see what is in front of you. Always bring a pair of sunglasses in your car. You can also bring a small sun shade for windows for your passengers, especially for long trips. Open windows or turn on air conditioning to prevent heat exhaustion. Always bring water to ensure that you and your family stay hydrated. Never leave kids or pets alone in a parked car even for a short period of time, especially when you are parked under the sun. The temperature inside a car is much hotter than outside and will be too much for them to bear.
  3. Drive defensively and stay alert
    Drive at a safe speed and leave plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. Always stay conscious and observe the speed limit. Speeding is a big problem in summer. It is one of the biggest causes of accidents. Always observe traffic rules:

    • Obey all signs and signals.
    • Always stay on the right lane if you are driving on a long highway. The left lane is for passing only.
    • Never drink and drive.
    • Always keep your eyes on the road. Never use your cellphone while driving. With busier roads, even a second of distraction can lead to fatal consequences.
  4. Share the road
    There will be more cyclists, skaters and pedestrians on the road in summer. Be conscious of sharing the road when there are no bike lanes. When making a right turn, shoulder check for cyclists. Watch out for vulnerable road users and be prepared to yield even if they don’t have the right-of-way. Also, after parking, check for passing cyclists before you open your door. Summer also brings increased construction on roads and highways. So be ready to stop or slow down in construction zones.
  5. Don’t carry a heavy load if your vehicle is not equipped for it
    Check your owner’s manual or consult your dealer to make sure that your vehicle can tow a trailer or haul a load. It will also be important to:

    • ensure that your rear view mirrors give a clear view of the road behind. Carrying a heavy load or having a trailer means you will need more space to stop or pass.
    • keep a good distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. The recommended distance is at least three seconds for every 20 ft. of vehicle length.
    • be courteous when you are moving slower than the flow of traffic. Pull over when you can to let faster vehicles pass.

Source: Sunny road ahead: Warmer temperature brings its own set of driving considerations, Canadian Immigrant Magazine.

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