When you think about summer, it’s all too easy to conjure up a rose-tinted vision of whizzing around deserted roads with the sun beating down, the music loud and the wind blowing in your hair. While there is something magical about driving on a warm, bright day, there’s no room for complacency. Just as the cooler months bring hazards for drivers, hot weather can also pose risks. Here are some hazards every driver should be wary of.
Glare and poor visibility
We’ve all been there. The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day, and you can’t see a thing. Glare from the sun can make it virtually impossible to see far in front of you, and it can also be incredibly tricky to see the lights on cars around you, making it difficult to know what other vehicles are doing. To prevent glare, keep your windshield clean and make sure you have a pair of sunglasses in the car with you. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you’ll need to invest in prescription shades. You can also use the visor above your head to block the sun and reduce the risk of falling foul to dazzle.
Drink driving occurs all year round, but it can be more tempting to hit the road after a drink or two on a summer’s day when you’ve congregated in a beer garden, or a friend has asked you over for a barbecue. According to the CDC, 29 people die in accidents that are linked to drink driving every day in the US. If you’re planning to let your hair down, or you end up drinking more than you anticipated at a garden gathering or a day at the beach, don’t risk your life or the safety of others. Arrange a lift home. You might feel like you’re absolutely fine, and you could drive with your eyes closed, but the reality is that drink driving is illegal and it kills people. If you’re liable for an accident, and a pedestrian or another driver is injured, they have every right to look for a lawyer for car crash injuries. Consuming alcohol affects your reactions and your ability to make sound judgments. You may be bolder than normal, and you might not be able to act quickly enough if you need to brake or swerve suddenly to avoid a hazard.
Summer is the season of road trips, and this often means getting up at the crack of dawn to reach your destination without ending up in a giant line of traffic. Driving tired carries a number of risks. If you’re exhausted, and you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, your reaction times will increase, you will lose concentration and you could even fall asleep at the wheel. If you’re planning a long journey, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before and schedule regular stops. Stretching your legs and getting some fresh air will make you feel more alert.
Driving in the summer can be exhilarating and uplifting, but it can also be frustrating. If you’re hitting the beach or you’re heading to a beauty spot, you might find that many other people woke up with the same idea. Expect to wait if you’re going to a popular location or attraction, and be mindful of slow traffic, for example, tractors and agricultural vehicles and caravans and RVs. Be patient if you find yourself stuck behind a vehicle that isn’t moving as fast as you’d like it to be, and give other cars, trucks and bikes plenty of space and time. Being impatient won’t get to your destination any faster, and it could result in an accident.
Punctures and tire problems
If your tires are already showing signs of wear and tear, the heat of the summer can accelerate damage and increase the risk of punctures. Keep checking your tires, and invest in replacements if your tires are in poor condition. It’s a good idea to carry a puncture repair kit with you, especially if you’re driving long distances or you’re heading off the beaten track.
We tend to think of the winter as the most treacherous time of year for drivers, but summer poses its own unique set of challenges. If you’re planning a road trip, or you drive to work every day, it’s crucial to make sure you’re aware of hot weather hazards and to adapt your driving style and check your car regularly to reduce the risk of accidents.