Often when we discuss safe driving and dealing with elements of weather, our minds think of common threats like snow, ice, and rain. However, the summer months also have their share of unique dangerous. Traffic numbers are increased due to vacationers, there is often more construction and work zones on the road, and sun glare are all hazards that can be exacerbated during the summer months. As a result, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the summer months are the most dangerous time of the year for drivers. With more drivers on the road than usual, it’s more important than ever to remember this valuable safety tips.
- Pay attention to your car’s maintenance – You should always be performing regular maintence on your vehicle year round; tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations are pivotal to increasing your vehicles longevity while keeping you at optimal safety. But the extreme heat of summer brings with it a heavy toll on vehicles. Tires are more likely to blow out and engines can overheat more easily. Check your vehicle’s cooling system and ensure that proper fluid levels are met to help alleviate the stress on your vehicles mechanical workings.
- Minimize Distractions – Not only are there more drivers in the road, but on average during the summertime there are often more passengers in the vehicle, either for road trips or vacations. This means more people will be on their phones following GPS coordinates and will find themselves in unfamiliar roads and environments. Also, more passengers in the vehicle means there will be more distractions to the driver. If you are a passenger, avoid interrupting the concentration of the driver or doing anything that may impair their ability to maintain focus on the road. It is especially good to have the other passengers take care of the GPS, music, and other considerations so that the driver’s attention is never split.
- Respect the Sun – The heat doesn’t simply affect your vehicle. The hot summer sun can make people feel drowsy and thirsty. The brightness of the sun is also in full force during the summer, so there is often an increase in the amount of sun glare coming off the road and other vehicles. Polarized sunglasses can help, particularly during the early morning and late evening.
- Share the road – Warmer weather attracts many types of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. While they have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every motorist, these road users are more vulnerable because they do not have the protection of a car or truck. Since school is not in session during the summer months, you will often see an uptick in children playing outside and riding their bicycles. Be especially attentive around neighborhoods where children are active.
Remember, long vehicle trips can be tough on everyone in the car. Plan enough time to stop along the way to get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, and change drivers if you’re feeling tired or drowsy. These long-distance driving trips can be tedious, so it’s often tempting to look around to find something to distract you. But when you are the driver, your only responsibility is to keep your eyes on the road.