With gas prices dropping to a National average of $3.45 per gallon, you may want to take to the roads this summer for a drive-to vacation, weekend road trip or just a day trip. According to AAA, 90% of Americans travel by car, but there are a few things you should know before you go.
A large portion of the US has been feeling the effects of sweltering summer temperatures. Last week, 24 states were under heat advisories, and most of the country felt the effects of 100-degree days.
Many state and local road crews have been out fixing roads that have literally buckled under the summer heat. As the pavement heats up, it expands and can’t contract if it doesn’t cool down enough overnight, causing cracks. If moisture gets in, the crack weakens and causes the road to buckle. The DOT calls this a “blow-up” and warns motorists to be on the looking for these conditions, especially motorcyclists.
Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia have all reported instances of road buckling. Wisconsin received 30 reports of blow-ups last week alone. This video of an SUV hitting a portion of the road that had buckled because of the heat went viral last week:
So, where can you go to avoid the summer heat? Smarter Travel identified five cool summer escapes that weren’t too far away:
– San Francisco, CA: During the summer, San Francisco’s average temperature is 72 degrees. Watch the fog come in over the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Baker or Ocean Beach, or take a ferry out to Alcatraz to see the city from a different perspective.
– Breckenridge, CO: With high elevations and cool temperatures, Breckenridge’s ski resort offers lots of activities during the summer months. From hiking, biking, golfing and rafting to relaxing at the spa, there’s something for everyone in the Colorado mountains.
– Prince Edward Island, CAN: Made famous by the fictional character, Anne of Green Gables, PEI is a cool 73 degrees during the summer and offers a beautiful island landscape. Take tours, visit historical landmarks and lighthouses, or cycle along the Confederation Trail.
– Olympic National Park, WA: Olympic National Park is a temperate rainforest that ranges from 65 to 75 degrees during the summer months. These beautiful parklands line the Pacific Coast, with beach breezes, shady tall trees and snow-tipped mountains.
– Southern Maine Coast: Maine’s coastland features some quaint towns and plenty of summertime activities, with mid-70 degree temperatures. Coastal inlets, historic villages and wildlife refuges are nearby, and don’t forget the delicious Maine lobster.
If you do decide to hop in the car and take to the roads, Media Works has a few tips and precautions to help you beat the heat and keep you on the road.
– Check your car’s AC: Have your air conditioning checked; your system should have a full charge of refrigerant.
– Test your car battery: Believe it or not, heat is the #1 killer of car batteries, so test it before you go.
– Inflate your tires: Under-inflation can cause tires to run hot, leading to blow-outs and flats.
– Change your oil: Get an oil change before you go; it will prevent your car from getting overheated and keep it running smoothly.
– Check you fluids: Make sure all your fluid levels are topped off; most places will do this for free when you get your oil changed.
– Always bring water: It will keep you hydrated, and may come in handy if you get stranded and need to walk in the heat.