On Thursday, 251 people called for service, said Gail Weinholzer, a spokesman for AAA Minnesota. That's about average for a summer day, she said. But the extreme heat has wreaked havoc on some vehicles, said Matt Hehl of AAA Minneapolis. Most calls that come in are related to overheating, blown tires and dead batteries.
Metro Transit has not reported any heat-related issues this week. It has encouraged its riders to stay hydrated, and does allow riders to bring beverages on its air-conditioned buses and trains as long as they have a lid, said spokesman Drew Kerr.
Even with cooler and less humid conditions predicted for the weekend, there is no room to let your guard down. A spokesman from KidsandCars.org says even when temperatures drop into the 80s over the next few days, the heat can still cause problems, especially for kids.
For getting around, here are a few tips from the experts:
Using public transit
- Limit wait times. Know your departure time to limit time spent waiting at station areas. NexTrip provides exact departure times to help customers plan accordingly.
- Keep windows on buses closed to help keep cool air inside.
- Consider adjusting your travel schedule earlier or later in the day when it is cooler outside.
- Wear sunscreen to protect from yourself when waiting for the bus or train.
- Wear a hat or carry a small umbrella.
- Keep children in the shade. Use a covered stroller or umbrella to make sure kids are covered.
- Have these items in the car, in case you do break down: flashlight with extra batteries, warning devices, such as flares or reflective triangles, first aid kit, a fully charged cell phone.
- Check battery fluids and clean corrosive build up from terminals and cable camps and that batteries are securily mounted to minimize vibration
- Check your owners manual to determine if your engine coolent should be flushed.
- Be sure tires are inflated properly. Under inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increases the likelihood of a blowout
- Make sure oil levels, transmission fluid, power steering fluide and brake fluids are at the proper levels.
- Have the engine cooling system maintained and inspected regularly.
- Have drive belts inspected and adjusted.
- Watch for condensation on windshield and/or musty smell that may indicate obstructed system drain
- Check for good airflow at the air conditioning outlets.
- Refer all air conditioning system service to qualified technician.
Remember your passengers
Heat stroke is still a possibility, especially inside vehicles where temperatures can soar above the 100-degree mark in just a few minutes. Our friends at KidsandCars.org reminds us that 33 children died while left inside hot vehicles in 2011 and that since 1998 one child dies from heat stroke every nine days.
- Never leave a child in a car even for just a few minutes. A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's. Leaving the window open slighlty does not slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature attained.
- Put something that you will need in the back seat that you will need, such as a cell phone, brief case or employee ID. That will remind you to look in the back seat and not inadvertantly leave a child in the car.
- Get in the habit of opening the back door of your car at every destination. It's called the "Look Before You Lock" strategy.
- Always call 911 if you see a child in a vehicle alone.