Everyone knows that driving in severe weather or at night can sometimes be dangerous — but you may not realize that a bright, sunny day can bring a few hazards of its own. From blinding glare to heat-related problems, the sun can actually wreak havoc on your day. Here are a few important tips to help keep you safe.
1. Be Aware of Sun Glare
Whether it’s the middle of summer or the dead of winter, the sun’s glare can obstruct your view of the road ahead and make it harder to avoid anything that may dart out into your path. In fact, sun glare is attributed to about 9,000 crashes every year. Glare tends to be worst just after sunrise and just before sunset, so slow down and use a bit of extra caution when you're driving at these times.
Your sun visor can help block out the sun, and polarized sunglasses can help reduce glare. If you find that you’re having trouble seeing, leave some extra following distance between you and the car ahead of you. Otherwise, you may not see what they're doing until it's too late. You can also help reduce glare by frequently cleaning your windshield both inside and out and making sure you don't keep anything on your dashboard that may reflect the sun up into your eyes.
2. Protect Your Vehicle
The sun doesn’t just make it harder to drive. During the summer months, the heat it gives off can also take a toll on your car. For example, high temperatures can cause your engine oil to thin out and reduce the efficiency of your coolant and transmission fluid. It’s a good idea to get an oil change before the summer months, switching to a thicker oil that won't suffer as much damage from the heat. Just to be safe, you'll also want to make sure you know what to do if your car overheats.
High temperatures can also cause your battery fluid to evaporate. This can cause battery damage, including acid leaks and corrosion. To protect your battery during the summer months, park in the shade whenever you can and check your battery occasionally for corrosion.
If you see corrosion starting to build up, clean your terminals with an old toothbrush and a solution of baking soda and water. Just be careful not to get corrosion or battery acid on your skin or in your eyes.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Tires
The summer heat can affect your tires, causing increased pressure. In fact, for every 10 degrees of temperature change, your tires can gain 1 to 2 PSI. These temperature-related changes combined with everyday wear and tear make it more likely that you could have a tire blowout.
Parking in the shade can help keep your tire temperature down. It’s also important to periodically check the PSI of your tires to make sure they are properly inflated. Not only can this help you avoid blowouts, but it can also improve your traction and your fuel economy.
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