Be fit to drive this summer: 7 tips for your car, and your body


The Holy Week break, and that long out-of-town drive, may be over. But by no means does that signal you to be less careful behind the wheel.

Summer hasn’t ended. In fact, those scorching days could heat up some more as the month of May approaches. That means, not only is your vehicle tested by the heat, but your own body and mind, as well.

Here are seven useful reminders to help your body and your car get ready to take on the roads during the hottest days of the year.

1. Wear comfortable, light clothes. Avoid wearing dark-colored clothing, as it absorbs heat. As much as possible, park your vehicle under the shade.

2. Stay hydrated. Always carry drinking water with you. Summer makes your body lose much more fluids, even if you’re not engaged in strenuous activities.

Drink water even if you’re not thirsty. Heat stroke can be fatal.

Here are its warning signs: You feel hot, yet you don’t perspire. Your skin is reddish and dry. You have a headache and you are irritable. The last two symptoms especially have a direct effect on your decision-making behind the wheel.

3. When you drive, be mindful of where you’ll stop to eat or drink. The Department of Health has consistently reminded the motoring public to eat properly cooked food and avoid drinking water and iced beverages of doubtful sources and quality.

If you’re the designated driver, it’s best not to fill yourself up too much with food, as you may feel sleepy or drowsy afterwards. So, eat light.

Avoid heavy meats and seafood—that means you should eat more fruits and vegetables, or go vegetarian altogether.

4. Motorists may have prepared their vehicles for a long, hot summer by fitting them with aftermarket products such as comfortable upholsteries, cooler air-conditioning, or extra topload space.

Still, there’s no substitute for the right mindset when driving.

According to the Land Transportation Office’s public safety division, the key to safe driving lies in each driver’s decision-making process, because every thought process that is translated to action will affect how traffic stops and flows.

So, drivers, remember: How you drive will have a ripple effect not only on your immediate surroundings, but down that road.

5. Be a predictable driver. Among the leading causes of vehicular collisions are drivers’ inability to know one another’s intentions—whether they are about to shift lanes or turn, or stop altogether.

Even during the brightest and hottest of days, make your intentions even clearer: Use your turn signals 300 meters before you turn, use your hazard lights only when you are stopped by the side of the road, and don’t hog lanes.

6. Perform the essentials. Finalize maintenance procedures on your car. Visit a dealer early for preventive maintenance service.

Also, peace of mind comes with insurance. So, be insured first—you and your car—before embarking on any road trip.

7. If it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter inside the engine bay. So, be ready to perform “cooling maneuvers.”

The inside of the engine bay can be so hot (especially with turbocharged engines) that it can penetrate the passenger and driver cabins and “cook” them.

Hoses and plastic parts are vulnerable to absorbing heat and undergoing heat cycles, making them more brittle and vulnerable to breakage.

Experts suggest that the car hood be opened for a few minutes after a lengthy drive to allow the pats in the engine bay to cool down quickly.

Pay special attention to the radiator and its hoses. An improperly working radiator or a cracked or leaking hose can cause the car to overheat.

Check your auxiliary fans, as well, together with radiator caps and engine thermostats.

Auxiliary fans, according to experts, work overtime during summer, as they are more frequently triggered into operation by temperature sensors.

The fans’ performance is weakened due to deterioration, thus compromising the cooling efficiency of the engine and the car’s air-conditioning system.

Tires should also be given extra attention. Worn-out tires are more prone to blowouts caused by extreme temperature cycles.

Windshield wipers are also more at risk during summer. They can become brittle and scratch the windshield.

Make sure that the wipers you use are those with “tropicalized” rubber compounds.

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