ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Summer is upon us, and with many families hitting the road in RVs or persona vehicles, California Highway Patrol has some reminders for you. Most of our cars have sat idle while we were in quarantine. You can probably count the times you filled up on one hand, since the middle of March! In recent days, traffic on freeways and in town has picked up, and as summer progresses, that is only expected to continue.
After long periods of non-drive time, cars should be inspected for maintenance, the CHP says.
“We understand the public is eager to get out and travel, but health and safety should remain a priority for everyone on California’s roadways,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Remember, fewer cars and less congested roadways are not an invitation to speed or engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel.”
As statewide restrictions lessen and travel increases, this summer is likely to see a surge of traffic.
The CHP recommends:
Make sure vehicle maintenance is up to date. Hot summer temperatures can put stress on engines. Tires, belts and hoses, fluid levels, interior, and exterior lights and wiper blades must be in good condition.
Program any mapping systems, whether on your phone or in your car, in advance. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has a mobile app for traffic information or visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov for highway conditions. Prepare for device malfunctions or loss of connection by knowing your route before you leave.
Buckle up! Be sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt. Check that young passengers are using the correct child safety seat for their height and weight.
Avoid distractions when operating a motor vehicle. Texting can wait!
Never leave pets, children, or the elderly alone in a car for any length of time. California laws address how to handle situations in which children or animals are left in vehicles. However, the best approach if you see an unattended child or animal is to call 9-1-1.
Expect road construction and plan for delays. Remember to “be work zone alert” and move over or slow down when passing any stationary vehicle displaying emergency or warning lights, including emergency vehicles, Caltrans vehicles, and tow trucks.
Drive sober! Never drive after consuming alcohol or while under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.
Are you taking your family on a road trip this summer? Renting an RV or driving over the mountains and through the desert to Grandma’s house?
Tell your Patch editor about your summer vacation and send us some pictures for a chance to be featured on Patch. And don’t forget to take Patch along with you, when you go!
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This article originally appeared on the Rancho Santa Margarita Patch