It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and even though the potential hazards may not be as obvious to drivers as they are in winter, there are still plenty of challenges associated with traveling during summer months.
The holiday season can mean higher temperatures, blazing sun, more vehicles on the roads, family road trips and extra demands on your car. Here are a few tips to stay safe on the roads this summer holidays.
- Check your vehicle regularly and before setting out on a long trip or vacation
- Check tires for pressure and condition. Be aware that you may need to increase tire pressures to suit additional loads in your vehicle (check handbook)
- 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 extra water in your vehicle in case you get stuck in a jam or breakdown
- Glare from the sun 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 from the sun is worse if your windshield is dirty, greasy or damaged so keep your vehicle clean and replace worn or damaged wipers
- High temperatures can increase sleepiness so make sure you 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
- 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
Other road users
- More families will be on vacation 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 road users can be more difficult to see. Always THINK BIKE, particularly at intersections/ junctions and on rural roads.
- There will be more children playing 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.
Carry an emergency kit
- Carry essentials such as jumper cables, flares, flashlight, basic car tools and a first aid kit in your vehicle
- Also carry plenty of water and some non-perishable food such as energy bars
- 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 if necessary (check vehicle handbook)
Have a safe journey
- Make sure everyone is belted up and children are in appropriate seats
- Maintain a safe following distance – at least three seconds
- Avoid being distracted by passengers, especially children – 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
Be aware of the 3 Ds
- Drowsy driving – follow the guidance above to avoid driving tired. If you begin to feel sleepy, pull over!
- Drunk (or buzzed) driving – NO alcohol when driving! Have a designated driver or use a cab.
- Distracted driving – avoid all the usual distractions such as cell phones, in-depth conversations with passengers and using technology in the vehicle, but look out for those added summer distractions such as children by the road and pedestrians in skimpy clothes!
Have a safe and enjoyable summer!