Summer Driving Safety: Practical Tips

Summer driving presents unique challenges that require special attention to safety practices.

We at The Wiser Driver Driving School want to help you navigate these challenges with practical tips to keep you and your vehicle safe.

Whether you’re planning a road trip or just commuting, these tips can make your summer driving experience smoother and safer.

How to Keep Your Vehicle in Top Condition

Maintaining your vehicle is non-negotiable for ensuring safe summer driving. Heat can exacerbate existing issues, leading to breakdowns and significant risks. Here’s how you can keep your vehicle in top shape.

Check Tire Pressure and Tread

High temperatures can increase tire pressure, making them more prone to blowouts. Ensure your tires are inflated according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Tires with low tread can significantly reduce traction, especially in rainy conditions common in summer. Use a tread depth gauge to check for wear and consider replacing tires with less than 2/32 of an inch of tread.

Ensure Fluids are at Optimal Levels

Fluids are vital for your vehicle’s performance. Regularly check engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Engine coolant is particularly crucial in preventing your car from overheating. Make sure that the coolant meets the manufacturer’s specifications and check for any potential leaks in the cooling system. Low levels or degraded fluids can lead to significant mechanical issues.

Test Air Conditioning and Battery

A functioning air conditioning system is essential for comfort and safety. Before embarking on any summer travel, test your AC to ensure it’s performing well. This also includes checking the cabin air filter for any clogs or signs of wear. Extreme heat can also affect your car battery. Have a professional inspect the battery and charging system to avoid sudden failures. A battery that is over three years old is more susceptible to losing charge quickly.

Fact - Is Your Vehicle Ready for Safe Summer Driving?

Proper maintenance can make a significant difference in safety and performance. Regular checks and timely replacements are investments in your safety. For a more comprehensive look at vehicle maintenance, you can read vehicle maintenance for safety. Continue to keep your vehicle in peak condition as you prepare for a summer on the road.

Safe Driving Practices

Stay Focused, Avoid Distractions

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting 3,142 fatalities in 2020 due to distracted driving. Keeping your focus on the road is non-negotiable. Stow away mobile devices before starting your journey and use hands-free options if necessary. Avoid eating, drinking, or engaging in any activity that diverts your attention from driving. Applying these habits can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

Maintain Safe Following Distances

During summer, road conditions can change rapidly due to sudden rain showers or heavy traffic. It’s essential to maintain a safe following distance to react to unexpected situations. The general rule of thumb is to keep a three-second gap between you and the vehicle in front. This distance should be increased in bad weather conditions. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, maintaining safe distances can reduce rear-end collisions by 30%.

Plan Routes and Breaks

Long trips require careful planning to minimize stress and fatigue, both of which are risk factors for accidents. Plan your route ahead of time using reliable GPS tools and check for any construction zones or traffic updates. Schedule regular breaks every two hours to stretch and hydrate. Fatigue can impair your driving ability as much as alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Taking breaks helps maintain alertness and ensures safer driving.

How Can Safe Distances Prevent Accidents?

By adopting these practices, you not only improve your safety but also contribute to a smoother and more enjoyable driving experience. For more tips, you can explore stress-free driving strategies.

Weather Hazards

Stay Informed

Keeping an eye on weather forecasts is essential for safe summer driving. Sudden rain showers, thunderstorms, and even extreme heat can affect driving conditions. Regularly monitor weather updates through reliable sources like the National Weather Service or use weather apps that provide real-time alerts. Being informed helps you anticipate and prepare for adverse conditions, reducing the risk of accidents.

Extra Care During Storms and Heat

Driving during storms requires heightened caution. Reduced visibility, slippery roads, and strong winds can present significant challenges. Slow down to maintain control and increase following distance to at least four seconds. Never attempt to drive through flooded areas. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just six inches of moving water can knock over an adult, and one foot of water can sweep away a vehicle.

Fact - Are you prepared for summer weather hazards while driving?

High temperatures also pose risks. Heat can cause vehicles to overheat and can impact tire pressure. Ensure your cooling system is in excellent condition, and never ignore warning lights on your dashboard. Take frequent breaks to prevent driver fatigue, as heat can be exhausting and impair concentration.

Pack Essential Emergency Supplies

Having a well-stocked emergency kit can be a lifesaver. Include items such as bottled water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, and basic tools. Don’t forget essentials like a flashlight, extra batteries, and a fully charged phone. Jumper cables and a portable tire inflator can be invaluable in case of mechanical issues.

If you encounter severe weather, additional items like blankets, rain gear, and road flares can prove beneficial. Ensure all passengers have access to necessary medications. During heatwaves, keep a supply of electrolyte drinks to prevent dehydration. To learn more about maintaining control during emergencies, read maintain control of your car.


As we gear up for summer driving, it’s clear that adopting certain safety practices can make a significant difference. Regular maintenance, including checking tire pressure, fluid levels, and air conditioning systems, is essential to avoid breakdowns and ensure a smooth journey. Staying focused on the road, maintaining safe following distances, and planning routes and breaks can mitigate many risks.

Fact - Are You Prepared for Safe Driving?

Weather hazards require vigilance, especially during sudden storms or extreme heat. Keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle ensures preparedness for unexpected situations.

Regular maintenance and continuous vigilance are critical. Making safety a priority ensures a more enjoyable and secure driving experience, regardless of whether you’re commuting or embarking on a road trip.

Boost your driving confidence by joining our comprehensive programs at The Wiser Driver Driving School. Our offerings include state-required classes, personalized lessons, and defensive driving courses. For more details, visit The Wiser Driver.

For additional insights on safe driving practices, explore our tips on reducing risks for teen drivers. Prioritizing these guidelines will help ensure safer and more enjoyable journeys throughout the summer.