Are you excited for the summer season? School is out. The temperatures are heating up. The memory of winter freezes is but a distant memory. It is no wonder why summer brings people out on the road. Everyone is gearing up for family road trips, backyard barbecues, and catching up with family and friends near and far. Before you hit the open road this summer, be mindful of the unique driving hazards that can come with this time of year. Proceed with caution and stay safe out there!
Be Cautious of These Summer Driving Hazards
The hallmarks of summer weather also compose some of the season’s primary driving hazards. Warmer temperatures, for instance, mean an increased risk for tire blowouts and overheated engines. The hotter weather causes the air in tires to expand which, in turn, means a risk for tire blowouts. To help avoid this, frequently check your tire pressure, and always carry a spare tire in your car. Avoid potholes and replace tires that have excessive wear. To help prevent your engine from overheating, which can lead to a breakdown or even cause a fire, check your engine coolant level as well as the condition of your hoses and belts. Should your engine begin overheating, pull over right away and call for assistance. Before restarting your car, wait for the engine to completely cool off, which takes about 30 minutes.
Warmer weather isn’t the only thing the summer season brings. It also brings rainy days and flooding. The rain can present hazards to drivers on a number of levels. First, the rain can impair visibility conditions. Second, rain creates slick roads that can lead to loss of traction, vehicle control, and ability to break in a timely manner. Additionally, many drivers get skittish in inclement weather like rain and this can lead to erratic and nervous driving behavior. While it is often best to avoid driving in inclement weather, sometimes it cannot be avoided. If you are on the road in summer rains, give more room between yourself and other vehicles and reduce your speed.
Summer also means an increased number of bicyclists, motorcycles, and pedestrians. All of which lack the basic structure and protection afforded by vehicles and all of which can be difficult to see and get lost in blind spots. If you are a driver, always double-check your blind spots. Give motorcycles a safe distance on the road. Be patient and vigilant. You could just save a life by doing so.
Teen drivers are another summer driving hazard. After all, school is out. These inexperienced drivers have the combined freedom of summer and being able to drive and they are likely to be taking advantage of it at every opportunity. This is where defensive driving becomes particularly important. While you may not be able to make teen drivers drive safer, you can be a defensive driver and try to anticipate any unsafe moves other drivers may make. Give plenty of distance, avoid aggressive maneuvers, and be mindful of the speed limit.