While the summer heat can take its toll on your body, it can also posedangers for motorists and may cause issues for railroads.Seasonable summer temperatures are not big problems for much of the nation.

However, when the temperature climbs to well-above-average levels during thesummertime for an extended period, roads and rails can buckle and tires canblow out.

The surface temperature of the road and rails can be much higher than thatof the air temperature, which is officially measured and forecast for locationsat approximately 6 feet off the ground. Official thermometers are shelteredfrom the direct rays of the sun and from reflection of heat from surfacesbelow.

Tires can fail during periods of excessive heat. Due to increased friction,high-speed driving, excessive cornering and frequent braking during periods ofvery high temperatures can cause the tire to heat up beyond their designratings. Once this happens, a blowout can occur.

Not all tires are created equal. Tires have separate ratings fortemperature, tread wear, load capability and speed. You may possibly avoid ablowout by making sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tireswill run hotter than tires inflated to the manufacturer's recommendation. Inaddition, under-inflated tires will result in poor gas mileage. You can reducethe risk of blowouts by slowing down on the highway and taking curves orcorners more gently. Excessive heat can cause badly worn or old tires to faileven in careful driving.

If you are unsure of the status of the tires on your vehicle, take it to aprofessional for inspection.

Buckling of highways and bending of rail lines occur when the small spacingbetween the individual sections is taken up by expansion of the asphalt,concrete or metal. In the case of concrete, there is nowhere to go but up.

Asphalt surfaces can deform, creating ridges and valleys. Both abnormalitiescan lead to vehicle damage and loss of control. In the case of rail lines, thesteel bends horizontally and can lead to train derailment.

Persistent temperatures of 100 degrees have caused pavement to buckle alongstretches of highway in Louisiana and other Southern states this week. The heathas road and rail crews scrambling to check and repair these surfaces in somelocations in the South and the middle of the nation.

Story by AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski