Summer in Stillwater is a special time of year. Although the crowds may be smaller this year due to the pandemic, plenty of visitors will come through to visit the wonderful shops, restaurants and scenery Stillwater has to offer. That also means more vehicles on the roads. Here are a few tips for summer driving in and around Stillwater:

Watch out for distracted drivers

Distracted driving is still a major problem on our roads in the best of times. Add to that the issue of out-of-towners checking maps on their phones to find their destination, and you have a new crop of distracted drivers to worry about. Be on the defensive. If another driver looks distracted to you, steer clear and expect the worst from them.

Look for pedestrians

Let’s face it. Everyone has had enough of being cooped up indoors. Minnesotans know how to take advantage of the warm weather in normal times, and these are definitely not normal times. You are likely to see many adults, children, cyclists and pets out enjoying the sunshine, whether they are residents or tourists. Be on the look-out, especially when backing out of a parking space or coming up to a crosswalk.

Make sure your car is ready for summer

Safety begins with your vehicle. Just as you winterize your car, you should also “summerize” it. Hot weather can be rough on a vehicle. Keep fluids filled, check belts and hoses that could have cracked over winter and make sure to check your tires. Remember that your car is an oven in the summertime. Never leave pets or children alone in your car, even with the windows cracked.

Give yourself, and other drivers, plenty of room

The highways are more crowded than usual in the summer. Whether you are out for a scenic drive on Highway 95 or commuting to work on Highway 36, you are not alone out there. Never tailgate, especially on a highway, and be careful of large trucks and semis. They need more room to maneuver and they have limited visibility.

Watch out for road construction

As soon as the frost is gone, and sometimes even sooner, those orange cones seem to pop up everywhere. Be patient when you see a work zone and slow down. Traffic violations in these areas are much higher than normal. Be careful at night. Sudden lane changes can be harder to see and there could be debris on the road.

Summer is a beautiful time in the Stillwater area, so get out there and enjoy it. Just be aware of the challenges you may find on the road.