Rain, snow and ice are threats to driver safety in the winter, but did you know that summer can bring its own set of dangers? The added traffic of vacationers is a small part of the increase, but sun glare, unpredictable weather and construction adds to the risks.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety summer and fall are the most dangerous times of the year for drivers. July and August are the deadliest with more drivers on the road increasing the chances of accidents.
This time of the year requires more attention to safe driving practices, here is a list of ways to stay safe behind the wheel.
Pay Attention to Car Maintenance
Heat can take a toll on your vehicle. It can affect your ability to braking and lead to tire blowouts. Engines can overheat and it places stress on just about every mechanical function of your vehicle. You should also pay attention to your tire pressure and treads, check the brakes frequently and make sure your AC system has all the fluids filled. Doing these things can help ensure your car does not get sidelined this summer.
Watch for Distracted Drivers
Summer roads are filled with drivers, whether it’s vacationing families or college students heading to the beach, drivers may be more distracted than usual. Distracted drivers are already an ongoing threat, however summer months can bring more distractions, so be careful and watch for drivers who are not watching for you.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Depending on where you are, summer weather can include thunderstorms with downpours which could lead to flash flooding and tornados. Some of these storms can happen with very little warning, so pay attention to the weather forecast before heading out on your trip.
Keep an Eye on the Calendar
Obviously more heavily traveled days are more dangerous than others, especially weekends and holidays when there is an increased occurrence of drinking and driving, July 4 is a particularly deadly weekend for both motorcycle fatalities and passenger vehicles. And the weekends between 3pm and 7pm, are when the highest number of fatal crashes occur, so be aware of the risks when you are behind the wheel and be sure you are taking the extra precautions needed.
Take Care of Your Eyes
During the summer months with the sun out in full force, there is an increased amount of glare coming off other vehicles and the road. This can be more dangerous in the early morning and late evening, so make sure you own a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Polarized glasses help cut down on glare and make it easier to see clearly, as well has help prevent your eyes from damage and driver fatigue.
Increase Your Following Distance
No matter what you are driving or hauling, you should increase your following distance to help offset the dangers you will encounter from construction zones, heavier traffic, and vacationers traveling in unfamiliar towns, cities and states.
Respect the Heat.
Lastly, it is easy to dismiss how much the sun affects us, but you need to pay attention to how it affects both you and your car. Heat exhaustion can make you drowsy and an overheated vehicle could leave you stranded. Pushing yourself and your car makes it unsafe for everyone on the road. Combat heat and fatigue with frequent breaks and paying attention to your body and vehicle’s warning signs.
While you cannot change how drivers are acting around you or the road conditions, if you follow these tips, you could prevent accidents and ensure a healthier, safer summer for you and your family.