You’ve heard that’s it all about the journey – not the destination. That’s good advice when we’re talking about heading out in summer heat with your RV. You must do everything possible to be certain that your journey goes as planned and that both you, your vehicle and your RV arrive safely at your destination.
Before heading out you KNOW that you must make sure your vehicle and/or RV has been properly maintained. You need a level of confidence that you’ve done everything you can to assure that it’s roadworthy and will make the trip easily.
If you do experience a breakdown on a hot roadway, you then need to know that YOU are now at risk. Now, not only do you need to take care of your vehicle and/or RV, you need to take care of yourself!
Heat exhaustion can occur when standing outside waiting for help to arrive in high temperatures. Symptoms include:
If left untreated, you could then be at risk for heat stroke. This is when the body reaches 104 degrees and symptoms multiply. In addition to the symptoms associated with heat exhaustion, heat stroke symptoms can include seizures, muscle cramps, unconsciousness and ultimately, death.
To stay cool in the heat of a highway breakdown, wear light colored clothing when traveling. Make sure you have sunglasses and a sun-shielding hat handy and WEAR THEM. Drink plenty of fluids all along the way. Seek a cool, shaded place if possible while waiting for help to arrive.
Heat may have caused your breakdown. Sometimes the fix is easy and just requires that you allow your vehicle to cool down before heading on your way. When towing, especially uphill, don’t push your vehicle to the limit. Travel at slower speeds in the right hand lane and pull over often to allow your vehicle a “rest” (remember, it’s the JOURNEY that counts! Plan to take your time getting to your destination.) Extreme temperatures can cause your vehicle or tow to experience heat-caused symptoms, too.
Battery Failure can occur in high temps when the battery’s electrolytes have evaporated to the point that the battery can no longer cool down.
Tire Damage happens when the temperature increases the air pressure in the tires and can cause blow outs.
Overheated Engines may occur when poorly maintained cooling systems fail.
Hoses and belts can break if old, worn or pushed too far in extreme hat.
These concerns are probably already on your list of worries when traveling in the heat of summer. But have you considered these additional hazards :
Construction zones can cause overheating while you are waiting or traveling at very slow speeds in extreme heat due to reduced airflow needed to cool the engine. Debris found in these zones can also cause damage to your car. Keep your eyes open and travel at slower speeds so that you can try and avoid these hazards.
Bad Weather can happen anytime but storms are more severe in summer months. Heavy rains can cause loss of hydroplaning and loss of control. High winds make towing and high profile vehicles difficult to handle. Hail can contribute to damage to your vehicle and RV. Cracked and broken windshields can cut your trip short due to reduced visibility when bright sunshine hits the cracks in the glass.
And something you may not have thought about: Lockouts are a real problem in summer months! AAA (AAA.com) estimates that over 4 MILLION people lock their keys in their vehicles each year. This minor problem becomes MAJOR if you’ve locked a pet or young child in the car. We all know what can happen to the interior heat in a vehicle when the windows are rolled up; it can become deadly quickly. If this happens, break a side window to get in quickly. Side windows are weaker at the edge, so use whatever is handy…a hammer, rock, etc. The goal is to get in quickly! Make it a point to check for keys EVERY time you leave your vehicle AND perhaps have a traveling companion keep a key, too.
As people spend more time outside, keys can also end up lost when hiking, biking and recreating. An extra key may be the answer to this problem; either place one in your wallet/purse/backpack (if you ALWAYS keep them with you) or place the extra key in a hide-a-key-box that isn’t easily spotted or you might have another, bigger problem on your hands when you “boil over” because of a stolen vehicle!