Risks Related to Summer Driving
This summer, during these unprecedented times, families are taking to the road as a way to vacation in the safest way possible during the pandemic. While driving may minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19, it isn’t always the safest way to travel – in fact, the summer months are some of the most dangerous to be on the road. Here are some risks that you should be aware of if you’re planning on taking that summer road trip.
- Weather: Summer weather can be just as unpredictable as winter weather, so don’t skip checking the forecast. Be sure your vehicle, and your driver, is prepared for extreme rainstorms, sweltering heat, and everything in between.
- Intoxicated Drivers: Summer can be an especially dangerous time for driving in part because of all the outdoor celebrations and activities, which often involve alcohol. Make a commitment to never drive under the influence, and always have a backup plan if you’re going to celebrate.
- Extreme Heat: Hot weather can harm children, pets, and other sensitive individuals, so make sure the air conditioning in your vehicle is working before you leave town. Never leave pets or humans in a hot car, even for a few minutes. Wear sunscreen, as you can get a sunburn even while driving, and pack an umbrella or seek shade if you want to take a break from driving without going indoors.
- Poor Visibility: On those long two lane roads, it’s tempting to blow past that driver who is going just a little too slowly in front of you, but don’t do it unless you have plenty of room and a clear path ahead. Use your running lights to make sure others can see you, too.
- Road Construction: Road projects often kick into high gear over the summer, and they can make driving more challenging and tedious. Check ahead for construction projects on your route, and be sure to stay focused while you’re navigating them.
- Risky Driving: Don’t let dry roads lull you into thinking you can relax at the wheel. Be wary of driving too fast or too close to others, only pass in passing lanes, and make sure to focus on the road.
- Fatigue: Driving while you’re sleepy can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. If you plan to drive for a long stretch, be willing to stop and rest if you’re feeling drowsy, or even stay somewhere overnight if necessary.
- Smartphones: While we all know that it’s not a good idea to drive with our phones within reach, many of us do it anyway. Minimize your risk of an accident by using a smartphone mount, and ask your passengers to help if you need to send a text or access navigation.
- Delays: Delays can cause stress and affect your ability to drive, especially if you didn’t expect them and are anxious to reach your destination. Anticipate construction, accidents, bathroom breaks, and thunderstorms. Don’t be surprised when one or more of them arise.
- Other Drivers: Maybe you’re the safest driver out there, even in the summer months. But motor vehicle safety statistics show that many drivers are taking unnecessary risks while driving in the summer. Be cautious of others on the road, and keep your distance or take a break from driving if necessary to keep your family safe.