Summer is often the most anticipated season of the year. Vacations, outdoor adventures and trips to the beach are all fun hallmarks as warm weather arrives and schools break for the year. And for many, summer also means more miles on our cars — and on our tires. Here are four driving safety tips to keep in mind this summer and throughout the year:
1. Check your tire pressure regularly to prevent hot weather blowouts …
According to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index, two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans consider checking their tire pressure and tread depth before heading out on a long summer drive. Because summer heat can affect tire health, a fact that only 27 percent of Americans are aware of, it’s important to also check the pressure on hot summer days. Excessive or prolonged spells of hot weather cause the air inside the tire to expand, increasing the pressure and increasing the risk of over-inflated tires. The increased pressure can lead to uneven wear, reduced performance and even blowouts.
2. … and know what to do when they happen
Increased tire pressure isn’t the only cause of hot weather blowouts: Friction and surface heat from roads increase stress on tire rubber, which can overload the tire. If your tires are hot to the touch, they’re probably overheating, so wait until they cool before setting off on your travel adventure.
If a blowout does happen, be prepared to change the tire — something that more than a third of Americans (35 percent) have never done! As part of your summer maintenance routine, check that you have everything you need to change a tire, including a jack stand, lug wrench and wheel wedge, and that every driver in the household has practiced it at least once. And don’t forget to check your spare tire pressure — something 29 percent of drivers never do!
3. Remove the roof rack
Summer means the outdoors, and for many that means strapping on a roof rack to transport bikes, kayaks and anything else for an outdoor adventure. And, the rigmarole of fixing a rack to a car roof often leads 21 percent of Americans to leave it on for the summer, according to the Gauge Index, much like leaving the grill in the backyard or an air conditioner in the window.
The difference, though, is that a roof rack adds drag, which costs drivers more at the pump — something many drivers can ill afford as gas prices rise in the summer months. Consider removing the roof rack when it’s not in use, or purchasing a rack that’s easier to attach only when you need it.
4. Plan your fill-ups
Speaking of summer gas prices, it’s no surprise that so many of us are looking for ways to save when it’s time to fill up. In fact, Hankook reports that 80 percent of Americans will drive up to 10 miles out of their way to save money on a tank of gas. When setting out on a summer drive, it can help to identify gas stations along the way that may offer cheaper prices. While you may find yourself driving further to fill up, for many of us, the savings are worth it: More Americans (41 percent) consider the price of gas over the convenience of the location (36 percent) when deciding where to fill up.
Our summer memories often live on for years to come. With just a few simple tips, drivers can ensure that the miles they rack up — whether on long road trips or darting about town — are as carefree and enjoyable as the season itself.
Did you know? We love our music! Over half of Americans surveyed said they would drive over 50 miles for a concert or a music festival, so break out that road trip playlist.