How to drive in extreme heat
Even if your fleet drivers aren’t heading through Death Valley, Calif., there are plenty of other pockets of the country that experience record-setting temperatures during the summer.
Cities that regularly log the hottest temperatures in June, July, and August include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and Orlando.
Summer temperatures average more than 90 degrees in Phoenix and Las Vegas, according to a study by Current Results that analyzed weather data collected by the NOAA from 1981 to 2010. Another 11 cities average over 80 degrees.
Fleet drivers can prepare themselves for the next heat wave by following these six vehicle tips and these four driving tips to lessen the impact of extreme weather on the company asset:
- Refill coolant: Make sure your radiator has plenty of coolant.
- Check hoses for leaks, cracks, peeling, or separation: Fix any problems so that the coolant can flow easily through the hoses.
- Add ample oil: The hotter it gets, the more important oil becomes, so be sure your vehicle has plenty of clean oil at all times.
- Check the battery: Ensure the terminal is clean and there is adequate water in it.
- Check tire pressure often: They need to be checked often for accurate pressure. Summertime brings with it sunbaked roadways that can easily cause wear and tear on tires.
- Service the air conditioner in the spring: It’s relatively inexpensive to do so, and can save a driver from a brutally draining day on the job if the air conditioner breaks down when the temperature is rising.
Experts also say there are several steps drivers can take to better deal with the heat once they are behind the wheel. Here are a few tips:
- Use a sunshade: When parking in the sun for any extended length of time, take a moment to cover the windshield with a sunshade. It will shield your dark dashboard which otherwise can get scorching hot and take a long time to cool down.
- Cool off your steering wheel: When returning to your vehicle after parking in sun, you may be greeted by an extra-hot steering wheel. Use a wet wipe to disperse the heat and cool it off.
- Choose A/C or windows down: Experts say that if you are driving at 40mph or slower, open windows and no air conditioning is the better option for keeping your vehicle cool. However, when traveling over 40mph, the opposite is true, so shut the windows and crack the air conditioner.
- Know what to do if your vehicle overheats: Though overheating is uncommon today, if it happens be sure you don’t ride the brakes. Also, turn the air conditioner off and if the vehicle continues to overheat, turn the heat on.
Source: Automotive Fleet