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Transit tips for the heat

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 26, 2013 - 12:38 PM

 

 

This week promises to be a scorcher with temperatures in the 90s and dew points in the uncomfortable range. And the forecast calls for the heat wave to continue through Labor Day.

The combination of heat and humidity can take a toll on people and vehicles, so here are some tips for getting around on foot, bike, car and public transit.

BY VEHICLE

When temperature approach the century mark as they just might today, AAA Minneapolis says it gets many calls for overheated vehicles, blown tires and dead batteries. The extreme heat can wreak havoc on vehicles. Here are some tips to keep you on the road and not having to call for help.

Batteries: Heat and vibration are a batteries worst enemies leading to internal breakdowns, according to AAA.  Drivers can't do anything about the warm weather, but be sure it is secured tightly to reduce vibration. Mechanics also recommend getting your battery tested if it is more than three years old.

Tires: Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Under inflated tires increases the chances chances of a blowout because they are more likely to overheat.  Check your owner's manual, or often the sticker inside the driver's door jamb to find the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Engine: Vehicle work extra hard in the heat, so it's important to have a cooling system that is in working order. AAA says coolant should be replaced as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Between flushes, check to be sure the coolant is filled to the proper level and if necessary top off with a 50/50 mix of water and the coolant type specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

Also check to be sure oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluids are at appropriate levels.

Air conditioning: It might make the interior feel nice, but if it's not working properly, it could be a sign of a low refrigerant level.

Emergency kit: They are not just for winter. Be sure to have a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, basic tools, water and non-perishable food items. A fully-charged cell phone would be a good idea, too.

MASS TRANSIT

Metro Transit riders can bring beverages aboard trains and buses as long as they have a lid. Here are some other suggestions for those riding light-rail trains and buses during hot weather:

  • Limit your wait time. Use NexTrip to find departure times and limit the time standing at a train or bus stop.
  • Keep windows closed to keep buses cooler.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun while waiting for buses or trains
  • Carry a hat or umbrella to create shade and prevent sunburn
  • Consider traveling early in the morning or later in the evening when buses and trains are less crowded and it's allegedly cooler.

REMEMBER YOUR PASSENGERS

Heat stroke is a very real possibility, especially in the blistering hot conditions on tap for the week. The City of Minneapolis offered this advice:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, and do it before you feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and beverages with caffeine or large amounts of sugar, which can cause one's body to lose more fluid.
  • Don't leave any person of any age in a car for any length of time. That goes for pets, too.
  • Wear lightweight and loose-fitted clothing.

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