Author: Kirsten Barber
Summer is the time of year many North Carolinians choose to travel and participate in outdoor activities. Whether you’re visiting the mountains, the coast or somewhere in between, keep these safety tips in mind all summer long.
Taking a road trip this summer? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, 9,025 vehicle crashes that occurred in June, July and August involved fatalities. These collisions were caused by risky behaviors like excessive speeding and distracted driving.
“Getting drivers safely to their final destination is a top priority for the NC State Highway Patrol,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher Knox. “We encourage everyone to plan before they depart to ensure they can reach their location on time without the need to speed or drive aggressively. Navigation tools like Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps can also help you find the best travel route.”
Prepare yourself and others traveling with you by planning your route and getting plenty of rest the night before. Take the time to check the oil, washer fluid, tire pressure, tread depth and battery power before leaving on your trip. Prevention and planning up front will lower the chances of vehicle breakdowns or other time-consuming consequences.
Don’t make a habit of sharing that you are away from home or posting photos to social media while you are on vacation. This gives thieves the perfect heads-up that your home is vacant. Share your photos and memories when you return.
Hot summer days with high humidity is the norm for North Carolina summer months. While nothing is wrong with being outdoors during the long summer days, being exposed to high temperatures can lead to heat-related illnesses. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. Those who are elderly, young, sick or overweight are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heatstroke or sunstroke.
Stay cool with these tips:
- Remain indoors during the hottest times of day (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
- Relax in shady areas when outdoors
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Take frequent breaks when working outdoors in the heat
Cars can heat up quickly when it is hot outside. Never leave a child or pet inside a closed vehicle, even if it is running.
Be a good neighbor by learning the warning signs of heat-related illness and how to respond.
Learn more about preparing for extreme heat.
Whether at the beach, lake, river or community pool, plenty of places are available to cool off during the summer throughout the state. Boating and other water recreation can be a fun pastime if appropriate safety measures are taken. Check these items off the list before heading out on your next water adventure.
- Make sure every person on a vessel has a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
- Check the weather before heading out. Storms can pop up quickly around the water.
- Ensure all equipment on the vessel is working properly before shoving off.
- Avoid swimming or paddling in high or fast-moving water. Always swim with a friend.
- Boating and alcohol don’t mix. Don’t drink and drive.
- Reduce drowning risks by monitoring children and always swimming where lifeguard supervision is in place.
Protect Your Health
In May the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided guidance that fully vaccinated individuals can safely do most activities without wearing a mask or the need to social distance from others. There will still be certain settings where masks and other safety measures will be required; those who are not vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and maintain social distance. More information on COVID-19 restrictions in North Carolina can be found on the NCDHHS website. The NC Department of Health and Human Services has resources for tourism and recreation throughout the state. See travel guidance from the CDC for domestic and international travel here.