How Extreme Heat Can Lead to Car Accidents

A person sitting in a car on a warm dayDriving in extreme heat can be uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. The risk of an accident increases as the heat reaches unsafe levels. This isn’t to say you’re in danger by going for a drive on a sunny summer day. But on those days when temperatures near triple digits, the effect on both your vehicle and the driving conditions can compromise safety. It’s crucial to understand these risks and manage them to keep you safe on the road during these sweltering days.

Vehicle Overheating and Mechanical Failures

Engine Heat Stress

The unbearably hot weather nearly every region of the country deals with at some point in the summer can cause your vehicle’s engine to overheat, especially if you’re taking long drives or spending too much time idling in traffic. When the engine gets too hot, your car can stall, lose power, or suffer severe mechanical damage. The only way to prevent this is to make sure your cooling system is maintained properly. This includes the radiator, coolant levels, and hoses.

Tire Blowouts

Every driver knows that tires have a certain shelf life. The wear and tear that comes with driving on them is only exacerbated by the extreme heat. And this makes it all the more likely that you’ll suffer a blowout. The science behind this is simple: hot air causes the air inside your tires to expand, which overinflates them. This leads to increased wear, which is especially bad if your tires are already worn down. To avoid the fate of a blowout, regularly check your tire pressure and tread depth, especially during heatwaves, to ensure they are within safe operating limits.

Compromised Road Conditions

Melting Asphalt

Anyone who’s driven in the summer enough knows that the sun has an impact on asphalt. Essentially, hot enough weather softens the surface, making the road stickier. This stickiness can make it harder to brake and handle your car, especially at higher speeds.

Driver Fatigue and Performance

Heat-Induced Fatigue

Driving in hot conditions can lead to quicker onset of fatigue among drivers. And if you don’t have functional air conditioning, you’re more likely to be dealing with dehydration and heat exhaustion, which can make it harder to concentrate and react quickly to road conditions and hazards.

Visibility Issues

The mirage effect caused by heat waves on paved roads can distort a driver’s perception of the road surface, leading to misjudgment of distances or unseen obstacles. Always ensure your vehicle’s air conditioning is functioning and use sun visors to aid visibility.

In the event of an accident during extreme heat, understanding how these conditions may have contributed to the incident is important. Here at 4N6XPRT Systems, we have sophisticated tools, including forensic car accident reconstruction software, that can provide valuable insights. Our software is highly accurate, providing you with the information you need for court, insurance, or other purposes. Give us a call at 619-464-3478  to learn more today!