Summer is the perfect time for road trips and long drives with friends and family. However, as summer brings warm weather and freedom of the open road, it also brings its own unique set of challenges when driving.
Summer Driving Dangers
Whether you’re going on a cross-country adventure or just driving to the beach, safe driving behaviors are vital. Below are some of the most common summer driving dangers to keep in mind wherever you find yourself this summer season:
Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration
Summer temperatures can soar and spending hours in a car without proper hydration and ventilation can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Try to keep the car cool by using air conditioning or opening windows when possible. “Check your vehicle’s A/C performance before traveling,” notes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “as the temperature rises, your A/C has to work harder to keep your vehicle cool.”
Stay hydrated while on your road trip by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks or alcohol.
Summer is also a popular time for road construction, which means more construction zones and potential hazards on the road. “A roadside construction area or work zone can create dangerous road conditions that increase the risk of car accidents,” note Tampa accidents lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys. Construction sites can be dangerous for drivers and workers alike, with uneven pavement, debris, and heavy machinery creating hazards.
To stay safe in construction zones, slow down and follow posted speed limits, watch for signs and cones, and keep a safe distance from construction vehicles.
High temperatures can also affect your vehicle’s tires by increasing the chances of dangerous blowouts. Hot asphalt can cause tires to expand, which can lead to blowouts if the tires are already worn or damaged.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated and regularly check them for wear and tear to mitigate the chance of a tire blowout. If you notice any signs of damage, such as cracks or bulges, replace your tires before hitting the road.
Summer is a popular time for travel, which means more cars on the road and increased traffic. More travelers can mean more accidents, especially in congested areas or during peak travel times.
Try to plan your route ahead of time and avoid busy highways or city centers if possible. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so you’re not rushed or tempted to speed; over 25% of fatal crashes in the United States in 2019 involved unsafe speed or aggressive driving.
Summer means longer days and more sunshine, which can create dangerous sun glare for drivers. Sun glare can make it difficult to see the road, other cars, or pedestrians, and can be especially hazardous during sunrise or sunset. To reduce the risk of sun glare, wear polarized sunglasses, use your car’s sun visors, and avoid driving directly into the sun when possible.
Summer is also a time when wildlife is more active, which can lead to increased animal crossings on the road. Deer and elk are just some of the animals that are more likely to be out and about during the summer months! Keep an eye out for warning signs, slow down and use your high beams when driving in areas where animals are likely to be present, such as parks and forests.
Distracted driving is always a danger on the road, but it can be even more tempting during the summer months when we’re tempted to check our phones after hours on the road. Avoid using your phone while driving, refrain from toggling with music and climate controls, keep your focus on the road and make sure passengers are also behaving responsibly.
Summer Demands Safety
While summer driving can be a great way to make memories and explore new places, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers that come with the season. By taking steps to stay cool, avoid traffic, slow down in construction zones, and stay focused on the road, you can help ensure that your summer drives are safe and enjoyable.