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According to the Department of Transport, in 2012 there were 18 per cent more fatal driving accidents during the summer months from June through to August as opposed to the winter months of December through to February.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the risk on the roads in the summer months, to include increased road congestion due to holiday travel, a rise in road works and increased stress levels due to higher temperatures.
To help be prepared for the summer driving season, Trusted Dealers has provided a short guide below to help motorists stay safe on the roads.
Look after your key fob
Many people get their key fobs wet or lost during their holidays. When you’re on a beach, it’s easy to lose your keys in the sand or ruin your remote in the sea, so before you decide to take that quick dip be savvy and leave your key fob in a safe place as soon as you get out of the car. Check your handbook in advance of a holiday, so you’re aware of any alternative methods to open your car, just in case the inevitable happens!
Check your tyres
Tyre punctures are one of the most common causes of a breakdown in summer or winter, and if your tyres are already damaged or at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures of summer will only increase the risk of a blow out. Check your tyres regularly, and particularly before a long journey, and remember to increase the pressures to suit extra loads – consult your handbook for further guidance.
Common summer hazards
Overheating is a summer driving hazard. High temperatures can aggravate cooling system problems so it’s important to check the coolant and cooling system regularly to avoid your car overheating. Furthermore, the glare of the sun can contribute to many accidents in the summer – you can reduce the effect of the sun on your windscreen by keeping it clean and also replacing any damaged or worn windscreen wipers. Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car at all times – you never know when you might need them!
In the hot weather, the onset of tiredness can be even more frequent, so if you do start to feel tired, it’s important to stop and take a break. If you’re really feeling tired, take a short nap or drink a cup of strong coffee. Tips to help avoid tiredness behind the wheel include, taking a 20 minute break in journeys of more than 3 hours. On a really long journey, it is better to take several short stops as opposed to one long one. Don’t drink any alcohol or consume a large meal before driving, and eat snacks regularly in the car – the act of chewing can help you to stay alert.
Dealing with summer allergies
If you suffer from summer-related allergies such as hayfever, its best to avoid driving if you can. If you can’t avoid it, make sure that any medication you are taking do not cause drowsiness. You can also close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains getting into the car. Keep a box of tissues close to hand and wear your sunglasses to help protect your eyes. If you think you’re going to sneeze slow down to avoid an accident.
Tractors are out in force during the summer months and can become a potential hazard on busy roads. Remember that the driver of a slow-moving tractor might be in a soundproofed cab or wearing ear protectors, so don’t assume they will be aware of or hear approaching cars. Also be aware that tractors only use brake and indicator lights at night so may stop or turn suddenly without warning in daylight hours, so it is important to keep plenty of distance between your car and any tractor ahead.
Warm weather often means an increase in bicycles and motorcycles out on the roads. To avoid any collisions, make sure you leave plenty of space between your car and any type of cyclist – four seconds or more is the recommended amount. Do not try to share a lane with a motorcyclist as they have full use of the complete traffic lane so could easily pull out in front of you at any given moment. Keep your eyes and ears alert for motorcyclists and cyclists. Regular checks of your side and rear view mirror will help foresee any potential hazards.