Andrea Stockton, staff writer
July 22, 2011 — Extreme heat in the summer months can impact drivers and have a damaging affect on cars.
Extreme heat has invaded much of central and eastern Canada. While the steamy conditions can pose serious health risks, the heat can also cause problems on the roads.
“In the past, once the heat kicks in a lot of people get frustrated when they're driving. They want to get from point A to point B as fast as they can and usually to home, a pool or a cottage and they don't want to be sitting in traffic so their frustration levels rise,” says Sergeant Dave Woodford with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
Excessive heat can impact a vehicle and lead to low air pressure as well. The OPP says there are more tire problems in the hot weather than any other time of the year. That is mainly due to tire failure in excessive heat. Tires can lose air pressure due to punctures, leaky valves, corroded wheels, age and impact.
Authorities encourage drivers to check rubber belts, hoses and all fluid levels on a regular basis.
It's also important to keep a safety kit handy like most drivers do through the winter months.
“We had two major crashes on Monday and people stuck in traffic for hours on end and a lot of them had no water, or anything to drink,” says Woodford. “Carry a cooler, keep some water in there, something to eat because you just never know what's going to happen.”
Sgt. Woodford adds that sunscreen and hats are also good things to have.
“A windshield is sort of like a magnifying glass effect with the heat even though you have air conditioning in there. It's still going to get hot in that vehicle especially if you're stopped at one location.”
Ontario's Go Transit commuter train system also notified its passengers of potential delays this week. Trains are known to slow down as tracks become swollen with the heat.
“Quite often we have rails that break under the train because of the expansion of those rails they tend to warp,” says Tom Reynolds, traffic specialist at The Weather Network. “Go Transit is slowing down the trains along with CN, CP, they slow them down because of these rail warping occurrences.”
How long will the heat last in your area? You can check out the Canadian Cities Forecast for your local details. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV for up-to-date coverage.