JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The state of Mississippi is known for a lot of things, including its hot summers. Health officials said it’s vital to stay safe during the summer months, especially while traveling.

With school approaching and people traveling to work, road-trip experts want to make sure travelers in Mississippi are staying safe by preventing heat-related health risks.

Kelly Johnson, senior vice president of marketing at SIXT, said the heat could take a toll on your vehicle.

“In order to prevent breakdowns, basic car maintenance should ideally be completed on a weekly basis during hot peak temperatures,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the heat can also cause drowsiness and dehydration.

“So, make sure to stay hydrated and use your air conditioning to maximum efficiency,” Johnson stated.

Here are some basic tips to help keep your car in tip-top shape during the summer months:

  • Keep on top of basic car maintenance: Breakdowns are more likely to occur in extreme heat as it may put a strain on your vehicle. Check your engine coolant, oil levels, and battery before setting off on your travels. 
  • Let the hot air escape: Before setting off on your journey, open the windows and door for a few minutes to help the hot air escape.
  • Park in the shade: It’s virtually impossible to stay in the shade when driving on main roads. However, it’s worth trying to keep your car cool when possible.
  • Use the optimal air conditioner settings: While driving, your first instinct may be to roll down your windows to clear the stuffy air. However, it’s best to switch to air conditioning to save on fuel and keep your interior cool. Make sure your air conditioning is running properly, and use the optimal settings.
  • Drink plenty of water: Extreme heat can cause dehydration, so make sure you pack plenty of water to drink on your journey. Take more than needed in case the journey is longer than planned, as well as snacks and suncream to protect you while you’re at the wheel.