Summer in West Virginia is a smart time to review safe driving strategies. According to National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration data reported by the Insurance Information Institute, auto accident deaths tend to rise from June through September.

Keep your family and other motorists safe on the road with these summer driving tips.

Schedule vehicle maintenance

At the start of each season, check your car manual to see whether the vehicle is due for maintenance. Keep your car in optimal condition by rotating the tires, changing the oil, checking the battery and having other tune-up services as recommended by the automaker. Replace your tires if the tread is too low, since damage can increase your risk for a dangerous blowout. Even when tires are in good shape, inflate them to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure each month.

Avoid multitasking

Although researchers are not sure why, distracted driving incidents also increase in the summer. Stow your smartphone while driving so calls, texts and notifications do not divide your attention. Eat before you leave the house instead of while driving. Adjust your mirrors, program your GPS, and choose a playlist or podcast before you leave your driveway.

Follow seat belt laws

You and everyone in your vehicle should wear their seat belts for every trip, no matter how short. If you have or frequently transport young children, make sure they ride in a properly fitting safety seat with the straps adjusted correctly. Kids younger than 13 should never ride up front.

Stay alert

Summer is a popular time for long drives and family car trips. However, these fun events can be hazardous when the driver gets too tired to pay attention. Avoid this situation by taking frequent breaks during road trips. If you do not have another adult to share driving duties, consider breaking up your journey with an overnight stay.

With these guidelines, you can reduce your risk of experiencing a serious auto accident injury.

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