There’s more to summer than vacations and siestas: ozone. A greenhouse gas and an air pollutant, ozone is created when sunlight reacts with air containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxidesexhaust from your car or emissions from a power plant.

By late April, ozone levels in the Triangle already had hit the moderate range, which means people unusually sensitive to pollution should limit their time outdoors. To reduce your car’s emissions, especially on Ozone Alert Days, avoid drive-through banks and fast food lanes; better yet, take mass transit or walk/bike to your destinations. Don’t fuel up your car until after 6 p.m. Also, if you must use a gas mower, don’t mow until the evening. To see ozone levels for regions throughout North Carolina, go to daq.state.nc.us/Ozone.