Guys, if you’re planning on taking a summer road trip this year, you might want to take care. The roads are not always a safe place to be, because according to these car accident statistics, a large number of road fatalities happen between the months of June and September. You need to be on high alert then, and this means having a knowledge of some of the seasonal driving dangers that could completely scupper your vacation time.
In this article, we will list some of the hazards that you need to watch out for. Be mindful of them, and take the necessary precautions to reduce the risks to yourself when you’re out on the roads.
Summer Driving Hazard #1: Young drivers on the road
As we’ll explore later in the article, any driver on the road can present themselves as a danger to you. But with school out for the summer, there may be new drivers on the road, and with their age and inexperience could come a whole host of problems. There’s an unfamiliarity with certain roads, for starters, and they might not have a proper understanding of road signage, despite having recently passed their tests. They may also use the opportunity to show off to their friends, or put their foot down for the thrill of it, which could present difficulties for you if their recklessness puts you in danger.
Statistically speaking, young people are more likely to have car accidents than older drivers, as we discussed in our article on safety tips for young drivers, so while you probably can’t avoid newbie road users, you might still want to remember the dangers and change lanes if you suspect they might pose a threat to you.
Summer Driving Hazard #2: An abundance of traffic on the roads
So, as well as the aforementioned younger drivers on the roads, you should also be mindful of the rest of the traffic that you might encounter when you hit the highways and byways. There are other cars, for starters, with many drivers taking road trips themselves. You can expect more motorcyclists too, as well as RV drivers, and lorry drivers, as they travel to and fro transporting products for seasonal businesses. You might also discover drivers taking extra risks, perhaps because they are in a hurry to get to airports, or because they are trying to overtake traffic in congested lanes.
So, be aware of the dangers other road users pose. Car accidents with injuries are common during the summer due to increased traffic, rising temperatures and negligence. A personal injury attorney will fight your case if you’re involved in a nasty scrape, but your best bet is to drive defensively so you can protect yourself as much as possible from the risk of harm.
Summer Driving Hazard #3: Your car
No matter how safe you are as a driver, your car could still be the biggest threat to you on the road this summer. You need to consider your tires, for starters. Because they are pressurized, the heat of the road surface can cause them to overinflate, and this could lead to a blowout, or it could lead to you having difficulty controlling your car effectively. Therefore, before you leave on your trip, make sure your tires are up for the task. Using your owner’s manual, make sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure, and ask a professional to give them the once-over in the event of any hidden rips and tears. You might also want to swap them for summer tires too, as they are specifically designed for summer conditions and hotter climates.
The other thing you need to consider is your windscreen. The intense heat could fracture your windscreen, especially if there is already a chip in it, and that will seriously reduce your visibility. You should get your windscreen checked before you leave for the trip, and either suffer the expense of replacing it or use the following linked advice to repair your cracked windshield. You can buy a windshield repair kit at most car stores but check with a mechanic as to your best course of action.
There are other issues that relate to your car. The extreme heat can evaporate the water within your car battery, so you might be forced to come to a sudden stop. Your fuel can also evaporate faster, so you need to keep an eye on your fuel gauge. And your car’s cooling system will be working overtime to keep your engine at an even temperature, and because the coolant you use could heat up due to the extreme heat outside, it could cause your engine to overheat and fail. Our advice is this. Get your car serviced before your road trip, make all the necessary fluid and tire checks, and arm yourself with breakdown cover just in case you do run into problems on the road.
Summer Driving Hazard #4: Road rage
With the rising temperature of the sun, you can guarantee that people’s stress levels will rise in tandem, especially if they are caught in traffic jams, or have to deal with reckless behavior shown by other drivers. You need to be on your guard then, protecting yourself from the road rage of others, and taking steps to calm down your stress level so that you aren’t the person responsible for instigating a road war!
So, thinking about other drivers, make sure you drive safely on the roads so you don’t incur their wrath and fury. Stick to the speed limits, stay within your own lane, and don’t perform any reckless maneuvers that could get the back up of any frazzled motorist. If you do find yourself becoming the victim of road rage, be it through your own fault or not, do the sensible thing and keep out of their way. Pull over if you need to, or, at the very least, adjust your speed so they can disappear out of view and away from your vehicle. It’s a good idea to have a dash cam fitted to your car as well, as if they do threaten you and/or cause you to get into an accident, you will have recorded evidence to show the police and your insurance company.
You should take steps to resist the urge to threaten another driver too, so take some deep breaths if you find yourself getting angry with another. Open your windows wide, not so you can stick your middle finger out at the other driver, but to let plenty of air come in to cool your hotheadedness. Playing relaxing music in your car is also a good way to calm your stress levels, as is meditating while driving to put yourself in a better mood state. Still, if you do find yourself tipping over the edge, pull over when it is safe to do so, and take some time to relax your senses before getting back on the road. Get some fresh air, go for a walk, and hydrate yourself so you can literally and metaphorically cool down. Hopefully, you will then be better equipped to handle any further stressful situations.
If you are taking a road trip this summer, we hope you have a fantastic time. However, be mindful of the driving hazards that we have outlined within this article, any one of which could ruin your time away. Follow our suggestions, and give yourself a better chance of a more fulfilling and exciting road trip; one that doesn’t involve a burst tire or a burst blood vessel when you’re out on the road.