10 Essential Summer Driving Tips to Avoid Car Accidents and Delays

summer driving tips

Summer is here, cities are opening up again, and it's time to get on the road! From mountains and beaches to gardens and galleries, Georgia has no shortage of day and weekend road trip destinations. If you'll be hopping on the highway during the 100 deadliest days of summer, you won't be alone. Here are 10 summer driving tips to make sure that this summer is one of the best ever!

10 Summer Driving Tips

1. Get Routine Vehicle Maintenance

Getting your car serviced before a summer road trip will prevent breakdowns, which can be a minor inconvenience or leave you vulnerable to a potentially catastrophic car accident. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and AAA recommend a preventative maintenance checkup of your vehicle before highway travel. If you don't know your vehicle's maintenance history or know it hasn't been serviced recently, schedule an appointment with your mechanic now to avoid any unnecessary delays and inconveniences on the road. Your "pre-trip automobile checklist" should include at least the following:

  • Air conditioning and air filter 
  • Brakes and tires 
  • Battery check (most auto parts stores offer a free battery check)
  • Fluids check (engine oil, transmission, brake, and power steering) 
  • Wiper blades and windshield cleaner fluid 
  • Belts and hoses. 

2. Check Your Tires

This is arguably one of the most important summer driving tips.  Tires play a huge role in staying safe on the road and blowouts are more common in hotter weather and during summer months. If you purchased your vehicle used, you may not know the true age of your tires or be alerted to manufacturer recall notices. See the NHTSA's Tire Wise PDF for information about buying tires, tire maintenance and labeling, aging, fuel efficiency, and tire retailers.

All vehicles manufactured in 2008 and newer have tire pressure monitor systems (TPMS) in all tires, thanks to the TREAD Act. However, you should not use the TPMS light as a substitute for actually checking your tire pressure. Many drivers ignore the light because it has come on and replacing the sensor can be several hundred dollars.

3. Consider Renting a Car vs. Driving Your Own Vehicle

If your personal vehicle needs new tires, brakes, or other costly repairs, it may be more cost-effective and safer to rent a vehicle for your road trip. Also, if your daily car gets poor gas mileage, renting a vehicle may offer substantial fuel savings. For example, if your own vehicle is an older SUV that gets 12 miles per gallon the fuel savings of renting a newer compact sedan that gets close to 40 mpg can easily cover the cost of the rental and save you money beyond that. If you need help calculating which makes more sense, check out Frugal Fringe's Road Trip calculator.


4. Plan For Unexpected Weather

With the weather changing constantly, it is important to be ready for anything. Georgia is a coastal state and at risk for tropical storms and hurricanes that may form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico. Before you head out on your next big adventure, make sure to check road conditions and traffic updates so that you can arrive at your destination with ease. You know what they say: always plan ahead!

5. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important whether you're on the road sitting in front of an air conditioner all day, or out in the sun. Hydration plays an important role in fighting fatigue, according to Harvard Health. Never hold back on hydration on road trips to skip bathroom breaks. You should plan to stop every two hours for you and your passengers to stretch and use the restroom. You can take advantage of planned stopping window times by handing out water bottles and encouraging water consumption 30-45 minutes prior to planned stops. Always consider others in your group, such as children and the elderly, who may need hydration reminders.

6. Slow Down

Give yourself plenty of time to get where you're going. Exceeding posted speed limits reduces your ability to stop and increases your likelihood of causing an accident. If you are traveling in a group of vehicles, be prepared to be separated. Never make aggressive driving maneuvers, such as unsafe passing or speeding through intersections, to stay together. In Georgia, courts have significant discretion to determine the fine for speeding offenses.

7. Prepare A Roadside Emergency Kit To Carry In Your Car

You should prepare an emergency kit before you hit the road this summer and this includes anything you may need for emergencies and extreme summer weather conditions like heavy rain. From a simple first aid kit to tools for roadside emergencies, an organized kit can prevent a minor inconvenience from being a major complication.

8. Look For Motorcycles

More than 70 percent of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur from May to October, which corresponds with the peak motorcycle riding season. Being aware of your vehicle's blind spots, checking your mirrors and over your shoulder before changing lanes or turning, and using your blinker can reduce your risk of striking a motorcycle.


9. Don't Drive While Drowsy or Tired

Even if you don't fall asleep, being sleepy or drowsy affects your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Effects of drowsiness can include some of the same impairments as drunk driving and the NHTSA reported that in 2017 drowsy driving led to at least 91,000 crashes, including more than 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths.

10. Avoid Distractions While Driving

When you are driving with your family, you will have different distractions than the normal distractions on your daily commute. When you're behind the wheel, you should not be concerned with programming GPS navigation, selecting music, or ordering food, just to name a few.

Injured In A Car Or Truck Accident This Summer? Contact The Graham Firm For Help

From the time that summer winds up and autumn draws nearer, many Georgians will be embarking on their annual road trips. Whether you're hopping in the car for a day or two to go visit one of many tourist destinations, driving upstate to visit relatives, or just running errands around town, there's no denying that these are some of the most dangerous days of the year for drivers. But it doesn't have to be this way! Follow our 10 summer driving tips and ensure your safety when behind the wheel during one of Georgia's deadliest driving seasons.

If you or someone close to you is injured in an accident caused by another vehicle driver or truck driver, contact the Marietta personal injury attorneys at The Graham Firm to discuss your legal rights. We will put our years of experience fighting for clients' rights against negligent drivers to work for you! We offer a free consultation to answer your questions - either over the phone, or at one of our two offices located in Marietta, GA, and Griffin, GA.