Often called the 100 deadliest days on the road, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day comes with increased risk for drivers. They have to share the road with more teen drivers, distracted drivers, and drivers under the influence. Traffic and congestion increase from vacation travelers, and lack of vehicle maintenance can lead to breakdowns and the associated safety challenges.
For small businesses with vehicles, it is critical to prepare both vehicles and employees to face the challenges of summer driving. Use this vehicle maintenance checklist to prepare for summer heat and the increased driving risk.
Check Battery for Corrosion
Battery fluid evaporates more quickly in the heat, so be sure to check your battery regularly for signs of corrosion. Since excessive vibration can also lead to battery breakdown, AAA recommends ensuring the battery is mounted securely before summer.
Watch Coolant & Fluids
Pay more attention to the cooling system during the summer. Flush and replenish coolant periodically while also keeping an eye on all fluid levels. When topping off motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, or power steering fluid, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.
Properly Inflate Tires
When an underinflated tire meets hot asphalt, the risk of a blowout increases. Check tire-pressure frequently in the summer months (including the spare) and fill according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Make Sure the AC Works
In extreme heat, working AC is as critical to driver safety as it is to driver comfort. The issue of AC has recently drawn attention as delivery drivers in trucks without AC have been hospitalized with heat-related illnesses. Beyond the risk of illness, heat-related fatigue can diminish powers of observation and delay reaction times. When temperatures soar, no driver should have to face driving long hours without AC.
Pack a Breakdown Kit
If a breakdown happens in extreme heat, the driver could be put in a dangerous, even life-threatening, position. Prepare for the worst with a roadside kit that includes a fully charged cell phone, a first-aid kit, sunscreen, snacks, and plenty of water.
The best safety tool for any vehicle is an attentive and engaged driver. Even though summertime brings vacation and relaxation, train your employees to drive defensively, be risk-averse, and refrain from using their phones while driving.