More fatal crashes occur in summer than any other time of year, reports U.S.A. Today. Based on data from the United States Department of Transportation analysts found that in 2020 and 2021, more than 30% of all fatal crashes happened between June and August.
There are many reasons for this trend. In good weather, more people are out and about. The sheer number of vehicles on the road—coupled with frustrating congestion— increases the likelihood for accidents. Add to this the fact that vacationers may be unfamiliar with roads, which can lead to erratic driving. The warm weather also means beach parties and barbeques, which ups the odds for more impaired drivers on the highways and byways.
In addition, there is more road construction in the summer months. Changes in routes can distract drivers and this can lead to collisions. Finally, summer heat adversely affects vehicles. A tire blow out, for example, can result in a severe crash.
Safe Driving Tips for Summer
With summer in full swing, now is the time to remind your drivers to practice their best defensive driving as well as proper maintenance of their vehicle. Here are some safe driving tips that can help your drivers avoid problems on the road during the summer months:
- Check tires and batteries — Tires always need good tread, but especially during summer’s heavy thunderstorms. What’s more, high temperatures will tax older batteries. Make sure both are in good condition and able to withstand summer heat. It’s also important to keep tires inflated to the proper pressure, as indicated in your owner’s manual or on a sticker on the edge of the driver’s door. Underinflated tires are at risk of a blowout in high temperatures.
- Check fluid levels — Avoid overheating by ensuring your vehicle coolant and water are at the right levels. Make sure oil and windshield washer fluids are topped off, too.
- Keep sunglasses handy — Sun glare isn’t just annoying; it’s dangerous and contributes to crashes by reducing your ability to see traffic lights, pedestrians, and other vehicles. Keep a spare pair of quality sunglasses in your vehicle so you’re always ready.
- Clean your windshield — A dirty windshield makes sun glare worse by scattering the sunlight. Make it a habit to clean the interior and exterior of your windshield regularly.
- Plan your route wisely — Roadwork is more common in the summer and can hamper your schedule significantly. Find out in advance if construction is happening along your intended route, then you have the option to alter it or leave earlier to allow for delays. If you must drive through work zones, obey reduced speed limits, scan the area continuously for changes in traffic patterns, and give road workers a wide berth for their safety and yours.
- Be cautious near tourists — Any place that attracts vacationers requires extra attention. Besides beaches and resorts, don’t overlook local venues like baseball stadiums, state parks, campgrounds, and other places that attract summer visitors. Expect stop-and-go traffic, abrupt maneuvers, and pedestrians crossing the road unexpectedly or without paying attention.
- Watch for children — With school out for the summer in most areas, children will be outside more often and not always attentive to traffic. In residential areas or anywhere children are near, reduce your speed and scan from building to building. If a child is playing near the road, cover the brake with your foot in case you need to stop abruptly.
- Steer Clear of Impaired Drivers — If you encounter a vehicle that is continually swaying out of its lane or moving erratically, there is a good chance the driver is impaired. Move as far away from that vehicle as possible, and if necessary, pull over and call the police.
- Get enough sleep — Extended daylight hours mean you may be up and active much longer than in the winter. As a professional driver, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are well rested. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Take a break from driving every two hours to stretch your legs and rest your eyes.