We know the hazards that come with driving during the winter in the San Joaquin Valley. Less realized is how dangerous it can be to drive during the summer. With temperatures in the Valley reaching beyond 100 degrees, the California Highway Patrol asks for your help.
Summer in California is a time for families to enjoy road trips, see the sights and visit new places. With an increase in the number of motorists taking to the highway, it is essential we all get to where we are going safely. Put safety first and prepare for travel, so your summer fun does not end in disaster.
During the summer, we see an increase in one particular call – the “11-26” – which is a CHP code for a disabled vehicle. Having patrolled Interstate 5 between Fresno and Merced counties during the dog days of summer, I know far too well how frustrating it can be to become stranded in the middle of nowhere. I have spent countless hours parked on a narrow shoulder behind a disabled vehicle and the families they were transporting. Often, a quick check of vehicle fluids and tire pressure could have prevented the headache of becoming “that” car on the side of the highway. To prevent this from becoming a reality, the CHP would like to offer the following tips to help ensure roadway safety:
▪ Make sure your vehicle is ready for summer. Check the tires, lights and radiator system. Summer temperatures place extra stress on your vehicle, especially the battery. All systems should be in good condition for safe travel.
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▪ If your vehicle has a problem, such as a flat tire, move it to a safe location, if possible off of the highway. The shoulder of a roadway, no matter how wide, is not a safe place for repair work.
▪ Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down. We advise you to put together and carry an emergency roadside kit. Suggested items are cell phone and charger, first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables and nonperishable food, drinking water and medicines.
I feel as if my next piece of advice is a no-brainer but, sadly, we hear about these incidents every year. Never leave a child alone in a car for any length of time! Kaitlyn’s Law prohibits anyone from leaving a child 6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years of age or older. If you see a child left unattended in a vehicle do not wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return. If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately call 911, get the child out of the car and spray the child with cool water. What if all of the vehicle doors are locked, and you must break a window to remove a child? California Health and Safety Code section 1799.102 prevents a person from being held liable for any civil damages that resulted in good faith to render emergency medical care at the scene of an emergency.
Lastly, buckle up every trip, every time. All passengers must agree to wear their seat belts every time they are riding in your vehicle. Set the example by always wearing your seat belt and when traveling with children, take every precaution to keep them safe. Make sure all child safety seats are correctly installed and meet the child’s height and weight requirement. If you have any questions regarding proper installation of a safety seat or when a safety seat must be replaced, please contact your local CHP office.