When it comes time to beat city heat in Philadelphia during the summer months, local residents have abundant options to choose from to cool off, kick back and enjoy the lazy days of June, July and August.

With the unofficial start of summer drawing near, now is a good time to be reminded of summer safe driving tips before you take off for Ocean City or Wildwood, N.J., Cape May or the Poconos. Wherever you travel to cool off and wind down, keep these pointers in mind when you hit the road:

  • If you plan on having some alcohol during your summer fun, be sure to designate a driver before the party starts. More than one person dies every hour because of a drunk-driving crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Don’t be one of those people! Agree on a designated driver before you arrive at the party, or call a taxi or limousine to take you home.
  • Watch out for summer storms that can spring up instantaneously and make summer driving a huge challenge. Be sure to turn on your radio if you see the skies darkening or have heard of anticipated bad weather along your travel route. When the rain does start, turn on your low-beam headlights, drive more slowly and allow much more distance between you and other cars. If the rain gets too heavy, pull over on the shoulder but try not to park under any trees, which can be blown onto your vehicle. If lightning starts, avoid contact with any surfaces that conduct electricity, either inside or outside your car.
  • Plan your long drives to include breaks and don’t try to make a given destination within a constricted time that will leave you exhausted. Don’t leave for the Poconos at 9 p.m. after a long Friday at the office, for instance, and plan on driving straight through. Long road trips can be almost hypnotic, which is terrible for driver safety. Also, when your fellow drivers get tired, they become more cranky and aggressive. Watch for impatient drivers with extra caution as you near the shore on a hot Saturday.
  • You are not the only one wanting to get out and about during the summer months. Watch out for a huge increase in motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. People on foot around the boardwalk will dart in and out of cars. That’s why someone is injured in a traffic crash as a pedestrian about every 8 minutes. One is killed about every two hours. Proceed slowly when you are in an area heavy with cyclists, such as Cape May. Yield when appropriate and don’t be in a big hurry around crowds of people. You will just get frustrated and possibly injure someone in your impatience. Don’t forget to look twice before opening your door as well.
  • Finally, check your tire treads and pressure before embarking on a long trip. You should do this a few days before leaving because you might need a day or two to get new tires if needed. If you see uneven wear, you probably need to take a trip to a mechanic to find out why. You might need a re-alignment. Do not overload your vehicle, which will put extra stress on your tires.

If you do happen to have a car accident during your summer journeys, be sure to contact a good Philadelphia injury lawyer to handle your case. Even if the other driver admits to fault and you anticipate a seamless resolution, you will find that many motorists change their minds when they discover how much their insurance rates will climb if they are at fault.

For this reason, it’s smart to consult with a Philadelphia car accident attorney and plan your approach if and when your case reaches the court.

Stay safe this summer, but even if you follow all of the above pointers to a “T”, it can’t guarantee the good driving skills and habits of those around you. It’s good to know that a competent Philly car accident lawyer stands ready to help if you do encounter trouble on the roads to the beach or the mountains.