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Posted: May 31, 2011 7:00 p.m.

GPS: Prepare cars now for travel season

The Georgia State Patrol is encouraging motorists to make sure their vehicles are ready for the road before embarking on summer trips. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said summer's high temperatures lead to an increase in the number of stalled vehicles Georgia State Troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance Officers see on Georgia roads.

"Summer temperatures are dangerous to both people and cars if proper precautions are not taken," Hitchens said. "It is vital that your vehicle is in proper running condition." The commissioner points out that the outside heat and humidity, combined with the heat generated by your vehicle, can take a toll on your engine, transmission and cooling system.

"Tires are especially vulnerable to blow-outs when the weather gets hot," he noted. "When tires are neglected and aren't inflated to the proper recommended pressure, blow-outs can occur and caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle." He pointed out that additional weight associated with summer travel can increase the strain on the vehicle's tires and increase the friction between the tire and the roadway. Tires should be rotated regularly, have sufficient tread, and be inflated to the recommended level which is stamped on each tire.

Motorists are cautioned to make sure children and pets are not left in unattended vehicles as the temperature inside a vehicle can reach a fatal level very quickly when the ignition and air conditioning are turned off in a poorly ventilated vehicle. "Do not leave children and animals unattended," Colonel Hitchens said. "Teach children that a car or truck is not a play area and be sure to lock your vehicle." He also reminded drivers to make it a regular practice to check the back seat and back floor area for children and animals each time you exit your vehicle.

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