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Summertime driving tips in Florida

Driving in Florida has always been a challenge, whether it's the slew of tourists that come down here or the barrage of snowbirds who are unaware of the state driving rules. When you get on the road you are already expecting to have to deal with other drivers' craziness, but what people tend to forget is that the heat from the sun is an added element to affect driving skills. In fact, it can actually lead to reckless driving and bad decision-making skills. Florida already does not have the best track record when it comes to driving but it's even worse during the summer because some teen drivers are just getting their license and driving under the influence is at an all-time high. That's why while you are outside having the time of your life, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and think twice before making hasty decisions.

summertime driving

What things should I keep in mind while driving this summer?

When you go outside during the summer there are definitely numerous different things going on in south Florida. Whether you decide to stay home or go outside somewhere, the best option you have is probably just to take an Uber. Between the end of the school year and summer vacation, the numbers of accidents go up significantly, and accidents in Florida have been so bad that everyone’s insurance rates have gone up. There are many issues that Florida summers bring that people are not even thinking of, so let our accident attorneys give you some ideas.


The importance of air conditioning

A big thing that people take for granted is their air conditioning system, they expect it to always work but when you continually crank it up in the summer there is a chance it can stop working. So don’t be foolish, get your car a/c checked regularly. This is especially important when you have certain health conditions where you are sensitive to heat. We can not stress enough: Go. Get. It. Checked.


Motor vehicles can overheat

Heat strokes are a thing and vehicles can also heat up quickly. If you really think about it, a car is well-constructed sheets of metal put into a pretty design with metal parts inside the frame, so everything is conducting heat, and the doors are closed. Top that off with some record-breaking heat this year and your vehicle may not even know how to respond. Try to open your windows and slowly ease in the a/c.


Don't leave anyone in a vehicle

It is going to be hot and vehicular heat stroke in the south Florida sun is a real thing. If you wouldn’t sit in the hot car yourself, don’t leave your children in there. Children's body temperatures rise three to five times faster than adults. Children under the age of 13 must ride in the back with proper safety belts. Make sure car seats and booster seats are correctly installed and the proper seats for the appropriate sizes for specific ages and weights. If you wouldn’t leave a child in the car, don’t think leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle is ok either. Our animals deserve to be treated with as much respect because at the end of the day, they rely on us to take care of them.


Additionally, if someone sees a dog or person in distress you are legally allowed to break into the car to save them. If you can’t handle the heat, what makes you think children and dogs can? Even if you don’t believe dogs have feelings, it is still very illegal to leave a dog in a car by itself with the car off.


Perform vehicle maintenance: Check your tires!

When it comes to traveling long distances, in addition to paying attention to your air conditioning, pay close attention to your tires. I mean they are what gets your car from point A to point B. Are your tires getting low? Do you know what your air pressure needs to be? Do you know how to check your air pressure? Do you know how to fill your tires with air? Do you know how to change a tire in case of a flat? Do you have a spare tire? Do you have the tools to change said tire? Many people do not have the answers to these questions, if they do have answers a lot of the time the answer is “no”.


Have your vehicle inspected prior to your summer road trip

When people think about road trips, tires are sometimes not even on most people’s checklist. By checking your tires, it can decrease your chances of an accident. To check how much air, you need for your car, you can find it on the door frame of your car when you open the driver’s side door. You can check your pressure by hooking it to an air pump at certain gas stations that can tell you how much air you have as well as how much you have while filling it. If you don’t know how to change a tire, you can visit YouTube for an instructional video on how to. If you are able to find equipment at your local auto parts store, and if you can go to your dealership, have them check out your tires, and do a full workup evaluation before you leave.


According to the Florida Department of Transportation, they advise individuals to:

  • Inspect your tires at least once a month and before long road trips.

  • Look closely at your tread and replace tires that have uneven wear or insufficient tread.

  • Tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch or greater on all tires. Look for the built-in wear bar indicators or use the penny test to determine when it’s time to replace your tires. Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, your vehicle needs new tires.

  • If you find uneven wear across the tires’ tread, it means your tires need rotation and/or your wheels need to be aligned before you travel.

  • Check each tire’s age. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing tires every six years regardless of use.

  • Tires for electric vehicles are heavier, but all tires require the same maintenance. Low-rolling-resistance tires for conventional vehicles could also have lower tread life.”

When taking your car to get checked out make sure you are taking it to a mechanic you trust.


Make sure all vehicle recalls are handled

Typically, when you are trying to find out if your car is sufficient to drive long distances, you can search your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) number in the “Recall Look-up Tool” on the nhtsa.gov website. Your VIN is located on the driver’s side on the bottom of the windshield. Imagine you get to your destination (an area you are not familiar with, and you are stranded because one of your parts gave up on you due to it being recalled and you didn’t know. Even a well-maintained vehicle can give up on you.


On the nhtsa.gov website, they state “Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down, so it’s advisable to put together an emergency roadside kit to carry with you. A cell phone tops the list of suggested emergency kit contents since it allows you to call for help when and where you need it. Recommended emergency roadside kit contents include cell phone and charger, first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, a hand jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire, work gloves and a change of clothes, basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak), water and paper towels for cleaning up, nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines, extra windshield washer fluid, maps, emergency blankets, towels and coats.” There is no such thing as being overly cautious when it comes to highway safety.


Beware and Report impaired drivers

Avoid any kind of risky behaviors such as texting and driving, drinking, and driving, smoking, and driving, especially refrain from sexual activities. These are very serious things that people do not take seriously enough, if your attention is elsewhere besides the roads, it may end up fatal. Many people feel like they are still in control when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but studies and tests have proven otherwise. When it comes to texting and driving, your head is looking down and thinking about the next word or the situation you are talking about, but many people do not realize that when you are driving 45 miles per hour you are driving 100 yards in one second, so imagine being on a highway going fast than 45. That's why it is best to put your phone down and ensure you are not driving at excessive speed.


Always stay alert, plan to keep your gas tank close to full as much as possible, plan enough time to stretch, eat, and if you can, find another person to drive. When returning to your vehicle after leaving it after quite some time, make sure to always check your back seat before entering to ensure no one with ill intentions can cause you harm.

How can a personal injury attorney help if I have been in an accident due to the pressures of summertime driving?

If anyone understands what the Florida heat and summertime heavy traffic is like, it's the attorneys at Demesmin and Dover Law Firm. Call us today for your free consultation at 866-954-MORE (6673).

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