When it comes to driving in summer, the experience can often be more enjoyable than driving in the colder months. The weather conditions are less hazardous and the sunshine adds to a pleasant journey. However, the summer brings a new set of challenges for motorists that need to be addressed. From reckless driving to sun glare, here are 10 summer driving risks that car owners should be aware of.
1. An increase in young drivers on the road
The summer is the time when schools, colleges and universities break up for a long period. This means there is an increase in the number of young drivers and the road and many are likely to have only just passed their tests.
Sadly, many young drivers are prone to serious road accidents, with figures showing that a fifth are involved in a collision during their first year behind the wheel. Motorists should be mindful around young drivers and avoid being caught in a collision.
2. Reckless driving
The warmer months can inspire some drivers to throw caution to the wind and drive as fast as possible. According to research from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RSPA), reckless driving contributes towards 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, 15% of crashes resulting in severe injury and 24% of all collisions that result in death.
The study also found that 85% of pedestrians killed by vehicle-related collisions in the UK is done at impact speeds of below 40 mph.
3. Drink driving
The increase in drink driving is one of the greatest summer driving risks. When the sun comes out, it can be tempting to go to the pub with friends and some people may decide to get back into their car afterwards.
During a car safety campaign from Police Scotland, over 230 motorists were found to be over the limit between June and July 2019. Officers carried out 3076 breath tests and 238 of the tests showed drivers with 22mcg/100ml of breath.
4. Hay fever
With the warmer weather comes an increase in pollen. This can spell disaster for motorists who suffer from hay fever. Constantly sneezing in a car can lead to distraction and this may increase the risk of a collision.
Taking hay fever medication is recommended, so long as it doesn’t cause drowsiness. Certain antihistamines can impair a motorist’s driving ability. Be sure to check the labels of your medication.
5. Increased journey times
When summer arrives, people are keen to go on holiday. A rise in tourism can lead to congested roads that are filled with cars, cyclists and motorcyclists all looking to get to the same location. This contributes to significantly longer journey times.
To help combat the effects of being stuck in a line of traffic, it’s worth planning for a journey in advance. This could mean bringing entertainment devices along or having a podcast to listen to. It’s also important to take regular breaks to avoid driving while tired.
6. Distracted drivers
With children breaking up for the school holidays, odds are there will be plenty of families driving on the road. Driving with kids in the car can be a challenging experience and there is always the risk of distraction.
There are a range of methods parents can apply towards keeping their children quiet. One activity could involve giving the kids a camera and getting them to create a travel logo or photo story. It’s a creative approach that ensures they are kept busy for the remainder of a journey.
7. The summer risk of sun glare
While sunshine can certainly brighten up the day, drivers are at risk of being blinded by the glare. Preparation is essential to avoiding the damaging effects of the glare. The simplest method is to bring a pair of sunglasses and wear them when the sun is getting low.
Another method is to tint the windows of a vehicle to reduce the glare or to drive with a clean windscreen. Dirt on the window may lead to the scattering of light and make the road harder to see.
8. Puncture damage
The summer is a trying time for tyres. High temperatures can damage rubber and cause it to dry out, while heat also causes an increase in air pressure. An overinflated tyre is likely to wear out quickly and could lead to puncture damage. It’s imperative that vehicle owners monitor tyre pressure to avoid uneven wear and tear.
9. An increase in traffic
In addition to car owners, summer brings out a host of other vehicles such as motorbikes, bicycles, caravans and tractors. It’s vital that drivers always remain aware of their surroundings, whether on a busy motorway or a narrow country lane.
Country roads can be particularly hazardous during summer because of the increase in traffic. When driving along one of these roads, be sure to check mirrors frequently for oncoming smaller vehicles.
When stuck in a car on a hot day, it’s easy to become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include slowed reaction time, fatigue, loss of focus and muscle cramps.
According to a study carried out by Dr Ron Maughan at Loughborough University, drivers who had up to five sips of 25ml bottles of water per hour made over twice as many mistakes as they did when properly hydrated.
To avoid dehydration, bring plenty of water for a long car journey over summer.
At Cox Motor Parts, we are committed to providing motorists with the equipment they need to drive safely during summer. For more information on our range of Honda parts and service kits, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form.