Climate change is causing Virginia to experience extreme heat waves. With a string of high temperatures recorded between 95 -100 degrees this month, driving in extreme heat poses dangers to Virginia motorists.
In this article, Virginia's top-rated auto accident attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman are providing tips for safe driving in extreme heat to cause awareness among the drivers about the elevated risks they may encounter when the mercury soars and the essential vehicle checks they can carry out to avoid extreme heat-related crashes.
Understanding the Dangers of Driving in Extreme Heat
Motorists should be aware of and prepared for the risks associated with scorching weather. Here's a closer look at some of the common hazards:
- Tire blowouts: Hot weather places additional pressure on tires, increasing the risk of blowouts. And if you are speeding, it causes tires to overheat quickly.
- Traffic Congestion: Accidents in extreme heat are frequently caused by congested traffic and aggressive drivers, especially around popular tourist spots.
- Bleeding Tar: Tar in the pavement rises to the road surface due to hot weather, causing the roads to become slick and dangerous for motorists.
- Road Work or Construction: Motorists should anticipate road or lane closures, traffic shifts, and total traffic stops due to usually more road construction activities during the summer months. Such work zones often see increased chances of collisions.
- Drowsy Drivers: During sweltering weather, people are more prone to drive when fatigued because of the warm air and high temperatures.
- Distracted Drivers: Stress from extreme heat can cause drivers to lose focus quickly, react slowly, and make more mistakes when driving.
- Teen Drivers: Teens travel or drive more during the summer, which causes a considerable spike in crashes involving young drivers.
- Heat-Related Health Emergencies: Exposure to extreme heat and humidity, loss of body fluids, and high heat index increase the risk of getting heat cramps, fatigue, or heat strokes. It can be fatal for other road users if motorists experience heat-related emergencies.
Safety Tips For Driving In Extreme Heat
Engaging in safe driving practices is imperative because summertime tends to see more people out and about. Some of the essential safety tips for driving in extreme heat include the following:
- Plan your trip to avoid the peak heat timings.
- Dress for the intense heat and wear light-colored, light, and airy clothing. And wear sunscreen even when you are inside the car.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or juices even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Get your vehicle serviced before you go on a road trip. Tires, fluids, the A/C system, and the battery are a few essential maintenance components to keep in mind.
- If you notice the vehicle engine is overheating, take it seriously. Pull over and give your car a little break to cool down.
- Take regular breaks to avoid fatigue-related accidents.
- Do not forget to pack an emergency roadside kit.
- Avoid risky driving behaviors like distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, and aggressive driving.
- Be mindful of other road users like bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Never leave your child and pet unattended in or around a vehicle.
- Always be mindful of the weather forecast and potential hazards.
- Pull over and seek emergency assistance if you notice signs & symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses (HRIs) like heat stroke, cramps, or exhaustion.
Preparing Your Car For Driving In Extreme Heat In Virginia
We all know what extreme heat does to the human body, but we often neglect how it affects our vehicles. Planning ahead will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown or, even worse, a car crash. Virginia's top car accident lawyers at Kalfus & Nachman advocate for car safety during the extreme heat. Here are basic vehicle safety checks you can perform before you go on driving in extreme heat:
- Tires: Tire blowouts are typical in extreme heat. Keep a check on the tire pressure and make sure that they work well. Under or over-inflated tires may put you at greater risk of accidents.
- Battery: Battery is highly susceptible to heat damage in the summer and may lead to significant internal damage to its structure. Always check your batteries before heading out.
- Cooling System: Check coolant level; it may evaporate due to high temperatures. Low coolant can cause damage to the engine and major components like the radiator or hoses.
- Air Conditioning: Always check A/C performance before traveling. During extreme heat air conditioning system of your vehicle can get overstressed and malfunction. It can put vehicle occupants at high risk of getting HRIs.
- Fluid Levels: Always monitor the vehicle's fluid levels. Higher temperatures can cause engine oil to be thin, providing less protection and allowing your engine to overheat quickly.
- Belts and Hoses: Inspect all belts and hoses as high temperatures accelerate the rate at which rubber parts degrade. Check all hose connections to ensure they are secure and have no signs of bulges, blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber.
- Wiper Blades: Extreme heat can damage wiper blades. Check for wear and tear on both sides of the wiper blades.
Hire Kalfus & Nachman for Top-Notch Legal Assistance in Virginia
Despite all the precautions you take to navigate safely in extreme heat, accidents can still happen, even for the best-prepared drivers. If you have been the victim of a car accident due to someone else's unsafe or negligent driving, Kalfus & Nachman's competent and experienced auto accident attorneys can help you seek the maximum compensation you deserve.
With decades of experience providing outstanding legal representation to injured victims, our skilled legal team understands how an unfortunate accident can affect your quality of life. Let our legal experts handle all the burden associated with filing a personal injury claim on your behalf while your prime focus stays on your health recovery. Call us for a free consultation at 855-880-8163