Take Safety with You on Your Summer Trip

DeAnn Crane

Hello, summer! I’m ready for some heat. But what about my vehicle?

As the first official day of summer approaches – Tuesday, June 21 – and I begin to think about an upcoming family vacation, I find myself making a safety checklist. You can use this list as a guide to help your coworkers, loved ones and friends prepare for travel, too.


Are they worn or improperly inflated? Hot temperatures can contribute to tire blowouts.

  • Be sure to keep a spare in your vehicle and make sure it is properly inflated
  • Using the built-in wear indicators, replace tires with uneven or excessive wear
  • Drive around potholes when possible


Here are some simple things you can do on your own between full-service maintenance visits to keep your engine running smoothly:

  • Fill your engine coolant, and check hoses and belts for signs of blisters, cracks and wear
  • Check your oil level or change your oil following vehicle manufacturer instructions
  • Consider packing extra coolant or oil in your vehicle’s trunk or storage compartment
  • Pull over immediately if your engine is overheating

Pace Yourself

Slow down and take in the sights. You’re on vacation!

  • Drive the speed limit to reduce wear on your vehicle; hot weather can tax your engine
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle; be sure it includes water and a phone charger
  • Map your route and set your GPS before you depart, and allow time for breaks to rest and eat
  • Be sure to start the trip well rested


More people are out walking in summer months, and many of them are distracted. Be on the lookout.

  • Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk


More people ride bikes in the summer, too, whether for exercise and recreation, or to and from work to save on fuel costs. Bicycles have a low profile and riders can be difficult to see.

  • Give bicyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing
  • Be aware when getting in or out of a parked car; you don’t want to open the door and knock a bicycle rider off course
  • Understand bicycle rules and share the road; it’s for everyone to use

Construction Zones

Road construction increases in the summer. Be alert for lane closures and shifts. Obey all signs, and watch out for workers.

Additional Tips

  • Sunglasses aren’t just a cool accessory; they prevent the sun’s glare from interfering with your vision
  • Never drink and drive
  • Summer can bring severe storms and flooding – even a small rainfall can make roads slippery – so be sure to check weather conditions before heading out
  • Check your windshield wipers; the sun is hard on them, and you don’t want to get caught in a rainstorm with bad wipers
  • Never leave a child or a pet inside a parked vehicle for any amount of time; a vehicle can heat to deadly temperatures within minutes.

While you are vacationing, be reminded that the summer heat can take a toll on your body – and your vehicle. Have fun and be safe.

– DeAnn Crane is a program manager with the National Safety Council