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Surviving the summer heat, smartly

By Danielle van Wyk

We’re in the heart of summer as temperatures across the country soar. While we are all aware of the basics and do well to take care of ourselves by staying hydrated and protected from the harsh heat, we may still be doing things that are potentially hazardous. One such thing the Automobile Association (AA) warns motorists against is being careful not to leave children or pets in vehicles, even for short periods of time. 

“Temperatures in cars can climb very rapidly, and even if a window is cracked slightly open, the inside temperature will exceed outside temperatures by several degrees. Children and pets who are left in cars are vulnerable and can become dehydrated quickly,” says the AA.

The advised alternative is considering rather leaving children or pets, attended, at home while running errands. “The consequences of leaving children and pets in hot, badly ventilated cars is extremely dangerous and must be avoided,” explained the AA.

Another consequence of crazy heat is the potential of an occasional heavy downpour. 

“These hot summer days may be followed by heavy downpours, and may, in some cases, even lead to floods. For this reason, all road users must ensure they drive, walk or cycle safely across bridges and main roads,” the AA urged.

To avoid having to fork out money in arguably the most financially stressful month of the year, the AA added that motorists ensure that their cars are in good condition and that their windscreen wipers are functioning optimally. “Although these wipers may not have been used for some time, they can become damaged from exposure to the sun, and should be checked before they are needed in a downpour,” highlighted the AA.

Another important check is your tyres. “Ensure your tyres are in good condition as warn tyres may lead to aquaplaning in wet weather if they are beginning to wear down. Any tyres which are balding, including the spare tyre, should be replaced immediately to avoid potential risks,” informed the AA.

“There are still some severe weather warnings for parts of the country issued by the South African Weather Service, and road users are urged to check local weather listings for any potential weather hazards in their area or on their routes. We also warn road users not to take chances in areas with low-lying bridges. Remember, your safety, and that of any passengers, is more important than anything else so be careful when driving in dangerous conditions,” the AA concluded.

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