Cicadas Can Bug Drivers: Safety Suggestions from AAA

According to AAA automotive experts, cicadas’ attraction to heat can lead to vehicle overheating and air flow issues.

As drivers return to work and prepare for summer travel, experts are offering tips to on how to keep your car clean and also avoid costly vehicle repairs.

“While cicadas are harmless, they can cause quite a bit of damage externally and internally to vehicles,” says Chris Storms, District Director for AAA Car Care. “Drivers are urged to take proactive steps to protect their vehicles while cicadas are in the area.”

AAA offers the following tips to keep your vehicle cicada free:

Protect the Exterior of the Vehicle: Bug remains sitting on your car for too long will eat away at your car’s exterior. Wash your vehicle frequently with a car wash solution (not household dish washing detergent) paying special attention to the windshield and headlights. Waxing your vehicle can also add an extra layer of protection.

Wipers: Make sure your wipers are working and your washer fluid is full. Special bug washer fluid with advanced technology can be purchased from local stores to keep the glass bug free and enhance driving visibility.

Clear the radiator grille: Cicadas can do real damage to vehicles by clogging radiator grilles, causing the engine to overheat. Get a grille cover, bug screen or just stretch some netting over the front of your car.

Filters: Cabin and air filters can become a playground for cicadas as these insects like to hide in the air filter or in the cabin filter housing. Drivers should pay attention to these areas, listen for any unusual sounds and bring their car in for inspection.

If a cicada does get into the vehicle, like a recent incident in Cincinnati where a driver crashed into a pole, AAA advises:

  • Keep your cool. Remain calm and keep your attention on the road until you can locate a safe place to pull over. If there are passengers in the car, advise them to remain calm as well. Travel with windows and sunroofs closed to reduce the chance of a cicada getting into the car. Your response to the invasion can itself be a distraction, increasing the risk for a crash and potential danger to you, your passengers and other drivers.
  • Wear your seat belt. Remember to buckle up – every trip, every time, no matter the circumstance.