Tips for Driving in Extreme Heat
Nevada is no stranger to heat. With long, hot summers and short winters, Las Vegas has an average of 310 sunny days a year. In the peak of summer, average daily temperatures reach 105 degrees! Nevada is mostly desert and semi-arid. Typically, April temperatures range from 56 to 78. However, this week is seeing particularly high numbers. The National Weather Service warns the “first heat of the year will create dangerously hot conditions.” They also warn that “excessive heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working outdoors or participating in outdoor exercise and recreational activities such as hiking, jogging and biking.” An excessive heat watch is in place for Tuesday, April 28 through Thursday, April 30 with predicted temperatures ranging from 97 to 103. Death Valley National Park forecast is 108 to 112. But what if you need to drive? We explore some tips for driving in extreme heat so you can stay safe on the road from now through the end of summer.
How Hot Weather Affects You and Your Car
Driving in extreme heat can be dangerous for you and for the driver. Car parts are affected by heat, but so is our ability to react to potentially dangerous situations on the road.
Hotter temperatures can affect drivers in a number of ways. Here are some symptoms that could inhibit a driver’s ability to navigate driving in hot weather safely.
- Distracted driving from discomfort
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid heartbeat
- A/C System: Hot weather can put a strain on your car’s air conditioning system. It might be tempting to run the A/C before you begin driving, but this can waste fuel. Without proper maintenance, your A/C system might not have enough power in the summer to keep your car cool.
- Battery: Extreme heat can drain your car’s battery. Hot weather makes your batteries work harder. Extreme heat can cause the battery fluid to evaporate, create sparks and flames, damage your vehicle, or blow up.
- Coolant: If you are driving with low coolant levels, you risk ruining your engine.
- Oil: The oil around your engine can thin out in hot weather. As a result, the engine won’t get as much lubrication as it needs.
- Other fluids: Transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid and power steering fluid, for example, are also at risk of evaporating or thinning.
- Tires: Car tires wear out over time regardless of weather. However, in extreme heat the tires get hot, too. Driving with hot tires on hot pavement is a risk for a blowout.
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Tips to Prepare Your Car for Heat
Most of these tips are applicable regardless of the weather. It is always important to check your car for maintenance.
- Test your air conditioning system before the weather gets too hot.
- Check your tire pressure. Temperature changes can cause your tire pressure to fluctuate. Excessive driving can also cause tire pressure to change. Check your car’s recommended PSI to get the right tire pressure.
- Check your coolant level. Low coolant can mean that you are due for a refill or your car has a leak.
- Change your oil. Regular oil changes keep your car engine healthy.
- Check other fluid levels. Motor oil and coolant are important, but don’t forget other fluids that keep your car running smoothly.
- Test your battery. Since heat can affect your battery, have it tested before it gets too hot.
- Check your brakes. If your brakes are not working properly, you might need to get new brake pads or to replace the brake fluids.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades and fluids. The bright sun can be blinding on a dirty windshield. Make sure you are equipped to keep it clean and clear.
- Wash your car. Dirt and grime can damage your car’s paint and undercarriage. Warm weather is the perfect time to wash your car.
- Update your car emergency kit. It’s a good idea to keep your emergency kit updated every year. Even if you’ve never used it, maybe some things have expired. Replenish or replace any essential items.
Top Tips for Driving in Extreme Heat
- Hydrate. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water before and during your trip. Keep some extra water in your car so you can continue to hydrate.
- Wear sunscreen. Just because you are inside a car, does not mean you are protected from the sun’s strong rays. Keep extra sunscreen so you can reapply.
- Service your vehicle. Check your car for all the usual maintenance. Use the above list as a guide to double-check your car is up to the task of driving in heat. Some important maintenance parts to remember are tires, fluids, A/C system, and battery.
- Clean your windshield. Sometimes the sun can be so bright it is hard to see through your windshield if it is smudged with dirt, oil, or bugs.
- Have a well-stocked emergency kit. This includes water, jumper cables, non-perishable food items, phone charger, flares, and first aid kit.
- Plan ahead. If you can, try to avoid driving at peak heat. Make sure you know your route ahead of time. Have a fully charged phone and extra cash just in case.
- Fuel up. It’s always a good general rule to keep your fuel tank full. This is important in hot weather because you don’t want to be stuck in the heat with an empty tank.
- Keep you and your passengers cool. Driving in a hot car can be dangerous. Fatigue from heat can inhibit you from operating the vehicle safely. Use your air conditioning system to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
- Keep your engine cool too. Hot weather causes stress on your engine because they work harder to prevent overheating. AAA suggests that you flush and replace your coolant periodically in order to operate properly.
- Choose your roads wisely. In general, highways are better maintained than regular streets and therefore better equipped to handle extreme heat.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a weather-related car accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of car accidents. These accidents include: large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You can be assured that our attorneys will expertly review the facts and if we determine that you have a case, we’ll aggressively represent you so you receive the best opportunity to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. It’s okay to inform yourself with some data from the Internet. But when it comes to seeking maximum compensation, you’ll want to put your case in the hands of the experts: Anthem Injury Lawyers, serving Las Vegas and vicinity. Not only do we have extensive car accident case experience, we are up to date on current legal challenges, including the latest events surrounding COVID-19, and will work aggressively to protect your rights and help you receive maximum compensation. Call us today for a free case analysis: (702) 857-6000. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley. Should you need us to, we can come to you. Contact us today if you’ve been the victim in a car accident in the Las Vegas area.