With summer officially underway in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re now in the throes of the busiest driving time of the year. The holiday season can mean higher temperatures, blazing sun, more vehicles on the roads, lengthy road trips and extra demands on your car.

Here are some tips to stay safe on the roads when traveling this summer.

Check your vehicle

  • Make sure brakes and lights are working
  • Check tires for pressure and condition – be aware that if tires are already damaged or are at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures of summer can increase the risk of a blowout
  • Keep fluid levels topped up, including wash wipe, coolant, oil and fuel

Carry emergency supplies

  • Your ‘breakdown kit’ should include a flashlight, charged cell phone, jumper cables, first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, emergency flares, plenty of water and non-perishable food – plus any additional emergency items required by law in your country/ state

Protect against the summer sun

  • Sun glare can affect visibility so carry sunglasses in your vehicle with you to wear while driving. If you require glasses, you should consider prescription sunglasses to use while driving. Avoid lenses that darken in strong sunlight
  • Dazzle is worse if your windshield is dirty, greasy or damaged so keep your vehicle clean and replace worn or damaged wipers

Wake up

  • High temperatures can increase sleepiness so avoid driving if you feel fatigued
  • Wipe your face and hands with a cool damp cloth
  • Have a bottle of water or refreshing drink before you begin driving
  • Schedule rest stops into your journey and take a break of at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving
  • Consider the amount of alcohol you consume the night before you drive and remember you can still be over the limit in the morning

Be wise to hayfever

  • Avoid driving if suffering badly from hayfever
  • If you are taking medication, check whether it causes drowsiness – if it does, don’t drive
  • Close windows and air vents to help prevent pollen grains entering the car
  • Vacuum inside your vehicle regularly, including car mats

Watch out for other road users

  • Lots of families take to the roads for vacations and day trips during the summer months so watch out for other road users. Bear in mind that some drivers may not be familiar with the roads they are on and could turn or stop unexpectedly while trying to find their way
  • There are more motorcycles and bikes on the roads in summer and these vulnerabale road users can be more difficult to see. THINK BIKE, particularly at intersections/ junctions and on rural roads
  • More children play out during the daytime in the summer holidays – look out for children playing close to roads or cycling/ scooting at the roadside. Be prepared for them to enter the road unexpectedly

Load your car with care

  • Pack luggage in the trunk if possible. Avoid overloading or placing luggage where it could obscure your vision or be projected forward in the event of a collision
  • Restrain pets
  • Adjust tire pressures to suit your loaded vehicle if necessary (check vehicle handbook)

Drive safely

  • Program GPS before you set off
  • Ensure everyone buckles up and children are in appropriate seats
  • Maintain a safe following distance – at least three seconds
  • Focus on the road and avoid distractions such as cell phones and technology
  • Keep children entertained to minimize the chance of passenger distractions – it can be a good idea to pack plenty to keep them occupied (for example books, puzzles, quiet games or portable DVDs/ games consoles with headphones)
  • If you are planning to drive overseas, research the rules of the road in the country you are visiting before you go

Do you have any more tips for safe summer travel? Let us know where you’re going and how you’ll stay safe during your journey.


E-mail: oms@virtualriskmanager.net
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