Summer brings about many weather-related challenges and cultural patterns that make driving more dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that more auto-related injuries and fatalities occur in July and August. Paying attention to the most common summer driving risks and knowing how to avoid these hazards is the best way to prevent them.
Hot temperatures easily could lead to the air in your tires expanding. Even the strongest tires could potentially blowout during extreme heat. When the pressure in tires becomes heated, and blowouts occur, accidents are a prevalent result, especially if they fail at high speeds. Check your tire pressure frequently and always replace tires if there is uneven or excessive wear.
High summer temperatures can also affect your engine. If it overheats, it may lead to a fire or breakdown that can be incredibly dangerous on the road. Check your engine coolant, hoses, and belts regularly. It is also beneficial to get an oil change each season.
Most construction happens in the spring and summer months, significantly increasing roadblocks, traffic jams, delays, and detours. Way too many injuries and even fatalities occur in a work zone. Plus, most crashes significantly damage property—either your car or the construction equipment. Slow down to a maximum ten mph below the speed limit in work zones, and always avoid construction areas by finding an alternate route when at all possible.
Animals may be coming out of hibernation during the summer. With the increase of animals crossing the streets, there are more accidents. Swerving around or hitting animals causes thousands of accidents each year. Be more aware at dawn and dusk, when animals are typically more active. Be extra careful not to swerve into oncoming traffic and remember that animal crossing or warning signs are there for a reason.
There are many more bikers out in the summer, both for recreational and commuting reasons. These individuals can be difficult to see, especially in blind spots. Their visibility in a crash also increases the number of severe injuries and fatalities. Allows bikers at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. Treat bikes like slow-moving vehicles. Be very cautious when taking turns and changing lanes.
More motorcyclists also come out in the summer. They are also more involved in many accidents as they’re moving at faster speeds. Plus, it is difficult to estimate a motorcycle’s speed, and they can quickly disappear into your blind spot. Follow motorcycles at a greater distance since they can stop faster than cars. Be careful when making turns, especially left turns. Check your blind spots multiple times.
There are more people outside in the summer months, which means that greater awareness is needed out there on the roads. Sometimes those out walking are very distracted. Always double-check for pedestrians before turning. Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, as they may be waiting for pedestrians to pass.
There are more teens on the road in summer with more lenient curfews. Since teens are inexperienced and tend to be more reckless, they present a hazard for us all. Talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving and implement driving curfews. Limit the number of teens driving in the car at once since the risk dramatically increases the more passengers there are.
People are taking off work and heading out on their vacation trips. This increases the traffic on the road. The more traffic, the higher the likelihood of an incident. Vacationing drivers also increase the risk of distracted, drunk, and drowsy drivers, which are the most dangerous drivers, and they’re all more common in the summer. It is helpful to avoid late-night weekend driving and during holiday weekends. As for vacationers, take a cab, Uber, or call a friend if you are intoxicated or not feeling spry enough to drive.
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