Octa's transportation blog

Tips for Safe Summer Driving

This promises to be a busy summer for drivers.

To save money, 26 percent of vacationers are planning to drive rather than fly to destinations, an increase of 10 percent compared to last year, according to Bankrate.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSC) offers the following tips for safe summer travel.

Summer Changes

Air Conditioning

As the temperature rises, your A/C has to work harder to keep your vehicle cool. Check A/C performance before traveling.


Never leave children alone in the car—not even for a few minutes. Vehicles heat up quickly. Even if the outside temperature is in the 70s and the windows are cracked, the temperature in a vehicle can rapidly reach deadly levels. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Belts and Hoses

High summer temperatures accelerate the rate at which rubber belts and hoses degrade. Worn or loose equipment should be replaced before travel.

Vehicle Checks


Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. 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.

Cooling System

Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle, and that the coolant meets the manufacturer’s specifications.

Fluid Levels

Check these fluids: oil, brake, automatic transmission or clutch, power steering, windshield washer.


Check the battery and repair or replace if needed,


Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Be sure to also check your trailer brake lights and turn signals, if necessary.

Wiper Blades

Like rubber belts and hoses, wiper blades are vulnerable to the summer heat. Examine your blades for signs of wear and tear on both sides. If they aren’t in top condition, invest in new ones before you go.

Emergency Supplies

Recommended emergency roadside kit contents include:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • 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

For the full NHTSC safety list, click here.