Safe Driving During the Summer
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton car accident attorney. The summer season is now upon us, and for many residents throughout the state of California, that means time off from school and planned vacations. Traffic conditions during this time increase significantly as vacationers hit the roads with their loved ones. Whether you have plans for a long road trip or will simply be commuting around town, it is important to understand the risks that come with summertime driving, including car accidents.
Regular maintenance such as oil changes, battery inspections, tire rotations and tune-ups are all vital ways to prevent your car from breaking down on the road. If a vehicle has been serviced periodically based on an automaker’s recommendations, it should be in great shape to take out on a road trip. If not, a preventative maintenance inspection should be scheduled promptly with a trusted mechanic or dealership. Most places are happy to have you come on by for this type of inspection.
Some owners may not even know that their car is under a current recall for necessary repairs due to a vehicular defect. To check whether your vehicle is affected by a recall, use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) look-up tool by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This tool will provide an owner with a list of completed and pending safety recalls for their vehicle within the last 15 years.
Have your mechanic inspect the air conditioning unit of your vehicle before venturing out on a long trip. Lack of air conditioning, especially during a hot summer day, can create serious hazards to those who are in poor health or have a high sensitivity to heat, like young children and the elderly.
To keep your engine in proper functioning order, have the radiator looked at to make sure the antifreeze (coolant) level is at its marked full level. This should be done when the engine is completely cool and the vehicle has not been running as removing the antifreeze reservoir cap right after a drive can increase your chance of sustaining a burn injury. Furthermore, antifreeze should be clear of rust or particles. When these contents are found in antifreeze, the cooling system should be flushed and refilled right away. If the antifreeze is oily or sludgy in appearance, the vehicle should be taken to a mechanic immediately as this may be a sign of a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head.
A good habit to implement as a car owner is to regularly check your vehicle’s oil level. As with antifreeze, if it is time for an oil change, now would be a good time to have that done. Also be sure to check the levels in the brake, power steering, windshield washer and transmission fluid reservoirs. If any signs of fluid leakage are found during your inspection, take your vehicle to a mechanic shop for service to avoid headaches down the road.
Higher temperatures can present unique risks for vehicle tires. Blowouts can occur due to over-inflated tires, which can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash. Tire pressure and tread depth should be checked periodically, especially before taking your vehicle for a lengthy road trip.
Brake lights, emergency flashers, headlights, interior lights and trailer lights should be in working order at all times. When towing a trailer, turn signals and brake lights of the trailer should also be checked. Vehicle light failure is a common problem and considered a serious safety hazard on the road, mainly at night.
Windshield Wiper Blades
California weather is unpredictable, even more so during the summer. Since rubber hoses and belts of windshield wiper blades are vulnerable to summer heat, they should be replaced regularly. To determine this, examine the blades for signs of wear and tear along each side. If your wiper blades are deformed, they may fail to function properly in both directions.
Seat belt use is considered as one of the most crucial ways in reducing injuries and saving lives in car accidents. Before each drive, make sure you and your passengers are properly restrained by seat belts. Every time an individual fails to wear their safety restraint, they run the risk of being ejected and suffering a serious injury or even fatality in the event of a rollover accident.
Emergency Roadside Kit
Break downs can occur despite having a well-maintained vehicle. Having an emergency roadside kit is important to have in every car in case you don’t have roadside assistance coverage through your vehicle manufacturer, automobile insurance policy or AAA membership. Some things that should be kept in an emergency roadside kit include:
- Basic repair tools
- Change of clothes and work gloves
- Drinking water, medicines and nonperishable foods
- Emergency coats, blankets and towels
- Jumper cables
- Medical kit
- Tire pressure gauge or air compressor pump, which usually can be plugged into a 12 volt outlet within a vehicle as a power source
- Paper towels and water for cleaning up
- Road maps
- White flag and flares
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Even when all the necessary steps have been taken to make road safety a priority, traffic accidents can still occur. When a party suffers injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is important to understand what rights they have and what damages they are entitled to in a personal injury claim. If this has happened to you or a loved one, contacting an experienced car accident lawyer in Stockton can make the difference in protecting your right to fair compensation during your injury recovery.
Stockton Car Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton car accident attorney. When a car accident occurs due to motorist negligence, victims are entitled to compensation for the damages they incurred including medical damages, lost income and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, I am here to provide you with free, friendly advice on your situation. Contact me any time at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
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