Summer is here and the temperatures are beginning to soar, so AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging drivers to have their vehicles ready for the heat.

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"First and foremost, we want to remind people to never ever leave children or pets in their car, not even for a short period of time. People don't realize how quickly temperatures can soar to over 200 degrees inside a vehicle, especially if the windows are closed. It's not even acceptable to crack the windows," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

It's also important for people to realize that the excessive heat can take a toll on the rest of the car as well. That includes batteries, rubber hoses, belts and the tires.

"Unfortunately, when people are setting out for summer road trips or vacations and are putting stress on these parts, it can lead to a break down and that's not how you want to start a trip," said Noble.

"Before you leave for a trip, the best thing you can do is make sure your vehicle is in top operating condition. Get it checked. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, take it to a trusted mechanic to give it a good once-over."

Before hitting the road:

  • Make sure your vehicle is in top operating condition before leaving home.
  • Install AAA's free apps to plan your trip and members can request roadside assistance.
  • Check all fluids including the coolant level.
  • Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot, you can be seriously scalded.
  • Inspect your brakes, battery, shocks, filters and pump.
  • Service the cooling system as recommended by the manufacturer. This is typically necessary every two to five years.
  • Keep your tires at normal pressure. Soft tires generate heat, which can lead to a blowout.

Once on the road:

  • Keep an eye on your gas, oil and engine temperature gauges.
  • Should the vehicle overheat, pull off the road, shut the engine off immediately and allow the vehicle to cool.
  • Carry an emergency kit: mobile phone and charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.