Driving In Warm Weather

Spring Weather

Despite recent weather, we are now well into Spring. In fact, next week in Markham, the temperature is supposed to go up to the mid-teens! I'd say that qualifies for Spring.

While warmer weather doesn't have as many dangers as cold weather does, warm weather should still change some of your driving habits. Here are some things that you should think about as the temperature rises (Yes, I promise the temperature will rise).

Passengers

Summertime is a busy time for transporting passengers. Road trips with friends, family excursions, work trips...many things that would make people sit in your car with you. When people are sitting in your car, usually a passenger isn't able to control how the environment is where they are sitting. Some newer cars have separate controls for the front passenger seat, and vans often have some for back seats, but that's pretty much it.

This means that your passengers' comfort is in your hands. You're the one in control of the temperature in your car. You need to remember that many cars are designed for drivers, meaning that the back seats may not get as much airflow as you are getting. Just because you are cool and content sitting 2 feet from the vents feeling the cold air, doesn't mean that your passengers are feeling anything behind you.

"I'll Just Be A Second"

This might be the most infuriating thing that people do in the summer. I think we all know where I'm going with this.

NEVER EVER EVER LEAVE AN ANIMAL OR BABY IN THE CAR

People still seem to think it's ok to crack a window and run into a store when it's hot out. But guess what...it's still REALLY hot in your car. The hottest day in Toronto in 2017 was 33.6 degrees Celcius. After only 10 minutes, the inside of your car could rise up to about 44 degrees. After half an hour, it could be up to 53 degrees. Here is a great video where a vet sits in a car on a summer day with his windows cracked to see how hot it gets (Spoiler alert: it gets VERY hot).

So this is simple...don't do it. Ever. Or someone will break your window.

Watch The Road

As the weather gets warmer, you are going to start seeing more "summer vehicles." Many people own two vehicles: a winter vehicle that can handle the snow and ice, and a summer vehicle that is more weather appropriate. For some people, this is something sporty like a Ferrari or a Porsche. For other people, it's something a little more exposed such as a motorcycle or even just a bicycle.

Motorcyclists and other bikers on the road don't have as much protection as drivers of a car or van, therefore any accident they are involved in could potentially be a lot more dangerous. If you've ever driven in Toronto, I don't think I have to explain the bike traffic and their lack of...safety sense. In any case, you really need to start being more aware of the more vulnerable people on the road.

Take Care Of Your Car

There are many ways that the heat will affect your car. Heat expands your tires, and if your tires don't have the proper pressure, it could cause a blowout. That is bad. Heat can also cause a lot of strain on your battery, so you might get stranded with a dead battery somewhere. That is also bad.

There is also a gauge on your dashboard that many people ignore, and it's actually pretty important. It's usually a curved gauge that has a C on one side and a red H on the other side. This is actually a thermometer, and it measures how hot your engine is getting. If that needle on the gauge starts pointing more towards the red side, you might be in a bit of trouble. Keep the needle away from the red by keeping your coolant topped up and not straining your car too much.

Conclusion

It's been a long hard winter full of snow and slush. For some people, this is a good thing! For sane people, it's really not. But we're approaching May which means sun and heat and flowers! So get ready to pull out that summer vehicle and cruise around with your windows down and the A/C cranked...just be aware that driving can still be dangerous and there will still be hazards and dangers, even in the warm summer.

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