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According to weather experts in the region, residents might be heading towards a period of an intense heat wave. During this period, temperatures could easily soar to 50 degrees Celsius.
Such high temperatures bring with them a raft of issues, apart from the obvious, and motorists need to keep their wits about them. Hence, here are 4 safety tips that will likely keep you, your loved ones, and your vehicle away from peril.
1. Check the cabin for persons/pets
It’s common for us to venture out during the hottest periods of the day - either to get some grocery or maybe even a quick visit to a nearby ATM. If you don’t/can’t go alone, chances are that you will likely take someone along with you – either a close friend, a pet or maybe even your little one at home.
Now let’s assume that you’re headed to an ATM. You will likely park your car close-by, and scoot over to the money machines ASAP. However, make sure you do the following before you do that. If you have your baby or a pet in the car, keep the A/C on and make sure there’s enough ventilation inside the cabin. Also, if possible, try to park your car in a shaded area, or at least facing against the sun.
Never forget where you have parked your car, and kindly don’t forget about who’s in the car.
2. Check your car’s vitals
In this day and age, we often take our car’s reliability and safety for granted. However, with an imminent heat wave on the horizon, it’s crucial to ensure that your car is just as ready as you are. If you haven’t serviced your car in a while, do it before a heat wave strikes.
Ensure that all the important fluids such as the engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid etc. are all present in the right quantities. The lack of any of these vital fluids could lead to your car breaking down in the middle of the road, or something much worse.
Talking of vitals, do not ignore your car’s tires and brakes. Excessive heat leads to fluctuations in air pressure within a tire and that could lead to a blowout, and thus, loss of control. Check for wear on your tires, and do not drive with a worn out tire/s as that could be a terrible mistake given an impending heat wave.
Check and ensure your vehicle’s braking system, and if need be you might have to replace the rotors, brake pads, and the braking fluid.
3. Maintain adequate ventilation
We all know the feeling of entering a hot and stuffy cabin after leaving the car under the sun for a while. However, the build-up of heat inside the cabin of your car gets much worse during a period of a heat wave.
A heat wave brings with it higher than normal humidity and a more rapid increase in the mercury than your average hot, summer day. This means that without proper ventilation, your car’s cabin can quickly turn into a very hot, uncomfortable sauna. To mitigate this, leave at least one of the windows (or ideally two opposite ones) rolled down by about an inch or so. This will leave enough space and time for the hot air/fumes trapped in the cabin to escape.
Before exiting the vehicle, make it a point to not leave behind any exposed metal cans/bottles that may contain pressurized liquid or gas – such as a deodorant. Due to the high temperatures, the pressurized perfume can (as an example) could likely explode. Thus causing damage to the car, and in case you have someone in the car, cause them bodily harm.
The same precautions must be taken for everyday items such as cigarette lighters, plastic bags/covers, and mobile devices such as a smartphone or a laptop computer that house lithium-ion batteries.
4. Must-have items
Given the soaring temperatures, it’s vital to keep yourself hydrated. Never leave home without ensuring to carry water. If your car’s equipped with a cool-box, store the water bottle inside so that it remains as far from the heat as possible.
In case your car doesn’t have a cool-box, make it a point to keep the bottle away from direct sunlight, plus you can always point one of the aircon vents at the bottle. If not equipped with one, buy a certified first-aid kit and always keep one handy in your car, should the need ever arise to use one.
You can also carry some quick-to-grab snacks such as chips, biscuits etc. to keep your fatigue down and energy levels up.
In closing, keep your wits about you when you drive in the blazing heat to come. Not to mention, keep an eye on that instrument cluster for any warning/caution messages from the car’s onboard computer.