Contributed by Seth A. White
The summer months bring lots of fun activities and opportunities, but these opportunities can often create hazards on our roadways. Tourism and vacations bring an increased number of motorists to unfamiliar places, holidays create a rise in alcohol consumption, and even the heat itself proposes its own problems.
Despite the problems that come with driving in the summer, the most notable, and preventable, is heat stroke. Heat stroke most often occurs when a small child or animal is left alone in a parked vehicle. Vehicles are able to absorb massive amounts of heat from the sun, and that heat is not able to escape if there are no openings for air flow.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Further, on an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in 10 minutes.
If you routinely drive a vehicle with young children or animals, there are ways to prevent heat stroke. First, you may want to leave something you need at your next destination in the backseat. Placing your cell phone or wallet in the back seat will cause you to look back prior to going to your next destination. Second, you can leave a child’s item (book, toy, etc.) in the front seat. This too will serve as a reminder. Lastly, make an effort to discuss the topic of heat-stroke deaths with every person who drives your child anywhere. That would include any relatives, friends, and babysitters.
The summer is a great time of year, and these simple precautions can help you focus on the all the fun that the summer brings without worrying about this potential hazard.