For most people, summer rather than the winter holidays, is the most wonderful time of the year. With its warm weather and long sun-drenched days, summer provides the opportunity to relax, enjoy outdoor activities, and plan fun-filled escapes that allow one to fully disconnect from work and everyday stressors. That’s why the majority of people schedule their annual vacations during these always too short but incredibly exciting months.
Unfortunately, the summer season also brings an increased risk of traffic accidents with it. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a 24-year period revealed that the number of casualties from fatal car crashes increases by 29% in summer compared to figures reported during winter months. More road collisions also translate into a higher number of car accident claims that you can read more about at https://www.accidentclaims.co.uk/personal-injury-compensation/car-accident-claims. This should serve as a warning sign for all the merry holidaymakers and road users who get behind the wheel in the summer season.
Car accident risk factors during the summer
While car accidents can occur any time of the year and drivers should take the necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood of these events regardless of season, the figures clearly indicate that the risk of getting into a traffic collision increases significantly in the warmer months. This begs the question: What makes car accidents more prevalent in summertime?
There are various factors at play that can explain this unfortunate phenomenon, as follows:
- The roads tend to be busier in summer with students out of school and more people traveling to and from their holiday destinations.
- The warm weather, as lovely as it may be, makes people more prone to experiencing heat-related health issues like dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or sunburn which can affect their ability to drive safely.
- People are usually more relaxed and carefree during the summer holidays. This means they pay less attention to potential risks and hazards and are more inclined to engage in dangerous behavior such as driving under the influence, speeding, or neglecting traffic regulations.
- Holidaymakers want to make the most of their vacation time and are eager to get to their destination as soon as possible. This prompts them to drive faster and be more aggressive on the road.
- Summer is a busy season for everyone, which means driving distractions are a lot more common during this time of the year.
Summer driving tips to stay safe on the road
Being aware of the road risks and hazards out there allows one to prepare properly for summer driving and enjoy accident-free vacations. So, here are a few key aspects to keep in mind before you hit the road this summer season.
Plan your route ahead of time
Don’t let the holiday excitement distract you from practical aspects such as planning your route in advance. When you’re getting ready to drive on unknown roads, it pays off to do a bit of research so you can remove the unknown from the equation.
Things like studying your itinerary, checking out road conditions, and staying up to date with the latest traffic reports allow you to focus on your driving and be less stressed about unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing the likelihood of road accidents.
Avoid driving during peak travel time
While you’re planning your route, you might want to schedule your trip outside of peak travel hours. It’s recommended to start your journey earlier in the morning, usually before 6 am, when there are fewer cars on the road, so you can avoid heavy traffic and speeding drivers rushing to get to and from work. If possible, you should also avoid driving during bank holidays when the roads are more crowded and chaotic.
Never drive while tired
All the summer fun can take a toll on your energy levels. It also makes it more difficult for you to pay attention to your surroundings. It goes without saying that you should never get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, taking painkillers, or sleep-inducing medication, but it’s just as important to make sure you’re well-rested before you hit the road. Fatigue and driving are never a fortunate combination. So, if you’re feeling tired you should pull over, take a nap, and plan for regular stops to get some shut-eye.
Keep your focus on the road
There are a million things that can distract your attention while you’re behind the wheel. But distractions tend to increase when you’re on holiday. It’s easy to lose your focus when you’re constantly checking your GPS and listening to music. Or, you’re admiring the scenery or talking to other passengers in the car. A moment of inattention can result in a terrible car crash. So, you should do your best to block distractions and focus on your driving.
Avoid aggressive driving
It’s always best to be defensive rather than aggressive behind the wheel, and summer holiday travel is no exception. In fact, you have all the more reasons to be extra careful when driving on busy summer roads. Why? You know that the risk of accidents is higher than usual. You should strive to stay calm keep your emotions in check and adhere to traffic regulations at all times.
Prioritise vehicle maintenance
It’s not just your behavior behind the wheel that impacts your safety, but also the condition of your vehicle. If you want to enjoy smooth and safe rides and avoid getting stuck on the side of the road due to a technical malfunction, you have to make sure your car is road-ready. This means you should have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic and complete essential maintenance tasks regularly. It’s also advisable to do a safety check before you start your journey to ensure everything works properly.
Summer trips can be extremely fun. But the risk of accidents can ruin the experience, especially for young and reckless drivers. That’s why it’s important to be cautious and take all the necessary measures. This way, you can enjoy peaceful and eventless summer rides.