June 22, 2010 | Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Contact; Julia Piscitelli
As the summer driving season gets under way, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging all drivers to pay strict attention to road safety, regardless of how long or how short the trip.
Millions of Americans will head out on the highways this summer, taking advantage of the warm weather and school breaks to travel. Unfortunately, summer getaways or visits with family and friends can easily turn tragic as the result of poor safety decisions behind the wheel, and not paying attention to vehicle maintenance.
Distracted Driving: Talking or texting on cell phones are just two of the dangerous driver distractions that claimed nearly 6,000 lives across the U.S. in 2008. Distractions behind the wheel can become even more deadly when combined with crowded highways, rural roads and city streets clogged with summer travelers. NHTSA urges drivers to keep their complete focus on the road at all times, which means putting cell phones and other portable electronics away and being mindful of other distractions such as eating, drinking and using in-vehicle technologies. If it is necessary to make a phone call, drivers should simply pull off the road to a safe location. Parents of teen drivers on school break should remind their teens that talking or texting behind the wheel is not worth the risk. For more information on distracted driving, please visit, www.distraction.gov.
Tire Inflation: Hot weather combined with underinflated tires or worn out tread are a recipe for disaster, especially when vehicles are loaded with family members and luggage. Motorists should make sure that tires are kept properly inflated and mind vehicle load limits during the hot summer months. Consumers can check tire inflation with an inexpensive gauge, and should consult their owner’s manual for the manufacturers’ recommended pressures.
While tire condition is important for all vehicles, statistics show that it is especially critical for those vehicles more prone to rollover crashes, such as SUVs. Owners of these vehicles, particularly if the vehicles or tires are older, need to exercise special care with regard to tire inflation and tire condition in warm weather.
For more information on tire safety, click here at safercar.gov.
Top NHTSA Safety Tips for Summer:
- Never leave children unattended in or near a vehicle. This is especially true in hot weather when the temperatures inside a car can rapidly climb to deadly levels. Parents should also make sure you know where your children are when moving a vehicle and pay particular attention when backing up.
- Always keep children, aged 12 and under, secured in age appropriate child restraints in the back seat where they are safest. For more information on child seat safety, please visit www.safercar.gov.
- Always buckle up, day and night and remember that law enforcement will be ticketing for seatbelt violations. Visit the Click It or Ticket website: http://www.nhtsa.gov/CIOT, for more information.
- Drinking and driving don’t mix. Please visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Impaired, for more information.
- To avoid fatigue and reduce stress, drivers should get plenty of rest the day before travel and leave plenty of time to get to their destinations.
- Check to see that your windshield wipers and all lights are working correctly.
- Check your vehicle’s oil and other fluids to make sure that they are at the proper levels.