CHP Tips for Summertime Travel

A high heat warning is in effect throughout the region, with temperatures soaring into the triple digits. This is a bad time to encounter car troubles. Prevention is your best tool to avoid a dire situation.

Bishop CHP Officer Torey Michener has provided us with the following list of precautions, practices, and potential consequences that travelers should keep in mind.

CHP Officer Michener’s Suggestions for Safe Travel

Prior to leaving for any road trip, ensure that your vehicle is regularly maintained per
manufacturer guidelines and is in good working order.

  • Make sure to check your engine oil and radiator fluid levels and top off as
    necessary.
  • Make sure to check your tire condition (look for: sidewall cracking, dry rot, cuts,
    abrasions, bulging) and that each tire has sufficient tread depth. If any one of
    these things are present, they should be addressed prior to taking a road trip.
    Extreme summer temperatures can only exacerbate what is already a safety
    concern.
  • Make sure to carry at least one gallon of water per person and pet inside the
    vehicle.

Whether it be summer or winter, dehydration is one of the major safety issues for a
stranded motorist. The California Highway Patrol and other Emergency Services will do
their best to get to you in a timely manner. Keeping yourself hydrated while you wait for
help may be the difference between getting roadside assistance and having a life-
threatening medical emergency.

Helpful Tips for Persons With Children

You live by your daily routine and it helps you get things done. Be extra careful, though,
if you have to change any part of that routine. This is more likely to happen when you,
your spouse/partner, or caregiver who helps with your children, forgets that a child is in
the back seat. This can and does happen when you break a well established routine.
Some preventative tips everyone can follow are:

  •  Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  •  Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not
    a play area.
  •  Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially
    open.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle, front and back, before locking the door and
    walking away.
  • If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it’s your spouse or partner
    who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop went
    according to plan.
  •  Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
  •  Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children’s reach. If a child
    is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
  •  If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to
    heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 9-1-1 or your local
    emergency number immediately.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
  •  Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the
    vehicle.
  • Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you will need in the back seat so that
    you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle.
  • Keeping an object in the car seat such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in,
    place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.
What you need to know

Vehicles heat up quickly – even a window rolled down two inches, if the outside
temperature is in the low 80’s-Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach
deadly levels in only 10 minutes.
Children’s bodies overheat easily, infants and children under 4 years of age are among
those at greatest risk for heat-related illness.
Children’s bodies absorb more heat on a hot day than an adult. Also, children are less
able to lower their body heat by sweating. When a body cannot sweat enough, body
temperature rises rapidly.
In fact, when left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three
to five times as fast as an adult’s. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury
or even death.
Symptoms of heatstroke: Warning signs vary but may include: red, hot, moist or dry
skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, a throbbing headache,
dizziness, nausea, confusion, being grouchy, or acting strangely.
Legal Risks
California Penal Code Section Partially states: A parent, legal guardian, or other person
responsible for a child who is 6 years of age or younger may not leave that child inside
a motor vehicle without being subject to the supervision of a person who is 12 years of
age or older, under either of the following circumstances:

  •  Where there are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety.
  • When the vehicle’s engine is running or the vehicle’s keys are in the ignition, or both.
    A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100). Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and

Section 192 of the Penal Code (Manslaughter), or Section 273a (Child endangerment),
or any other provision of law.
Unfortunately, millions of children are left unsupervised in or around vehicles each year
and the results are often tragic. If you witness a situation where a child is in danger, do
not hesitate to call 9-1-1.