Safety Agencies Promote Summer Driver Checklist
Dusting off your list of reminders before you hit the road in 2021? Does your travel take you throughout the US and Canada?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has compiled a comprehensive list of vehicle service reminders. Also, the Royal Canadian Mounted Poilice has released some timely tips for safe travels.
NHTSA Vehicle Checklist
Battery. A vehicle battery can go bad overnight, especially if you are going from one temperature extreme to another. A simple battery test can uncover any charging problems.
Lights. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and interior lights. Also inspect trailer brake lights and turn signals.
Cooling System. Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle, and that the coolant meets the manufacturer’s specifications.
Fluid Level. Take a peak at the vehicle’s oil level before going on the road. Also check brake, automatic transmission or clutch, power steering and windshield washer.
Belts and Hoses. Get belts and hoses inspected for bulges, blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. Summer heat can accelerate degredation fo rubber belts and hoses.
Wiper Blades. Spring and winter storms can wear down wiper blades. Examine your blades for signs of wear and tear on both sides.
Air Conditioning. The effectiveness of your climate control system affects people who are in poor health or who are sensitive to heat, such as children and older adults.
Floor Mats. Improperly installed floor mats can increase the risk of a crash. Use retention clips to prevent matts from sliding forward. Make sure to purchase matts specifically designed for your vehicle.
Tire Safety. Check recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver’s side door frame. Do not rely on the number pritned on the tire itself. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend tire replacement every six years to prevent cracking and failure.
The NHTSA and RCMP pre-travel tips
Check for vehicle recalls. Call your service advisor to check on manufacturer recalls that could affect your travel plans.
Take care of oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, battery checks.
If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good condition to travel,” the NHTSA stated. “If not—or you don’t know the service history of the vehicle you plan to drive—schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with your mechanic right away.”
Know Your Car. Re-acquaint yourself with your vehicle owner’s manual.
“Familiarize yourself with the features on your vehicle — such as antilock brakes and electronic stability control,” the NHTSA stated.
Plan Your Travel and Route. Check for road conditions and traffic. Although GPS can give you a route, accidents and weather are changeable. Summer road work could throw a wrench into your travel plans. Road consruction and wildlife incidents are particular prevelant during summer in Canada.
Driving While Fatigued. More than 5,000 people die yearly in the US alone from accidents caused by fatigued drivers, according to one study. The same study showed driving 20 hours is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%--the legal limit in US and Canada.
Utilize rest stopes. If you start your driving day early, end it early, too.
Prevent heatstroke. A child’s body temperature increases three to five times faster than an adult. Temperatures can reach deadly levels inside the cabin even when it is a mild climate outside (70 degrees F/ 21 C).
Protect young children while traveling. All children under age 13 should ride buckled in the back seat. Use local seat inspection stations to make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed. Resources for child safety seats.
Child safety seat resources: