Summer Heat Hazards

Summer is often the most fun time of the year, but high temperatures can take a toll on us, our pets, and even our vehicles. Beat the heat with these summertime hazard tips.

Prepare your car for summer driving. While many people think about winterizing their vehicles, they often neglect the maintenance their car needs for the extreme heat of summer. The most emergency roadside assistance calls from AAA members are for overheating and dead batteries.

Summer's extreme heat can take a toll on your car since the engine must work doubly hard in the summer and the vehicle's cooling system must be maintained to protect the engine from overheating.

Make sure to keep your car covered or in the shade as much as possible this summer, as the sun's rays can also damage your car's exterior paint and interior seating, dash, and console.

Hotter temperatures can also quickly rob your car battery of its power, leaving you vulnerable to breakdowns. When the weather warms up, it's a good idea to have your battery checked as well as a check of fluid levels to ensure your car is running properly. Visit your local AAA Car Care location for all of your car maintenance needs, including free battery checks.


Never leave your kids or pets in the car during warmer months. As a rule of thumb, it's never a good idea to leave kids and pets an unattended car, but in the summertime, the decision can be deadly. According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1998 to 2014, 636 children died from vehicular heatstroke.

The temperature in a car can rise an average of 40 degrees in under an hour, regardless of the ambient temperature outside your vehicle. If you don't really need to take your pet with you, leave them safely at home. And never leave your children in an unattended vehicle.


Children are especially vulnerable to extreme heat. Young people absorb heat 3 to 5 times faster than adults so they are at higher risk for heat exhaustion. Make sure to keep your children hydrated and give them frequent breaks from the heat. Look for signs of heat exhaustion including pale skin, disorientation, and nausea. Indications of heat stroke can be throbbing headache, high body temperature, and not sweating. These symptoms are serious and may require immediate medical attention.


The sun can wreak havoc on your skin, cause you to age prematurely and trigger skin cancer. With skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in the U.S, you need to keep your skin protected at all times in the sun with sunscreens that contain both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) protection.

When choosing a sunscreen, look at the sun protection factor (SPF), which is an indication of how long a sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays. The SPF number is the amount of time it takes your skin to burn when it's covered in sunscreen compared to when it's not. For example, if you'd normally burn after 20 minutes in the sun, an SPF 30 protects for about 10 hours.

Also, since the SPF only applies to UVB rays, make sure you choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Be aware that spray sunscreens are not as effective as lotions, and there are risks associated with inhaling the spray. As far as ingredients, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says there is evidence that common ingredient oxybenzone can act as a hormone disruptor and that retinyl palmitate could increase skin cancer rates. Look for mineral filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 


We can help you beat the heat this summer with your AAA membership, everything from discounts on sunglasses to the car care you need to ensure your vehicle is ready for the extreme heat.

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