We all know about winter driving hazards. We check the weather forecast before heading out and slow down in snowy and icy conditions. But how much thought do we really give to the dangers of driving in the summer? If you’re like most of us—very little. With the help of the accident experts at esurance, we bring you a list of some of the summertime dangers you might not be aware of.
How Dangerous Is Summer Driving?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, August came close to being the deadliest month on our nation’s roads in 2014, with 3,037 highway fatalities (October saw 51 more deaths). June and July of that year saw nearly 3,000 deaths each as well. The main reason for the increase in deaths over the summer months is that more cars are on the road, but it’s who these drivers are and how they are driving that make the roads so dangerous.
Factors Contributing to Summer Driving Dangers
As you get ready to head out across the country this summer to your favorite vacation destination, keep these facts from esurance.com in mind:
There are more teens on the road. School is out for most kids in the summer, which means more teen drivers hit the roads. Due to their lack of experience, teen drivers are at an increased risk for causing an accident. Monitor your own teen’s driving this summer and watch out for other young drivers on the road.
Vacationing drivers add to road congestion. Congested roads are dangerous roads as there are fewer escape routes when things go wrong. As vacationers head out on the highways, the increased traffic adds to the danger for all of us—even if we are just commuting to work. Slow down in heavy traffic and allow more time to get to work on busy Fridays or holiday weekends.
Tourists are often unfamiliar with the roads. When drivers are new to an area and are trying to follow a navigation system, they are likely to drive erratically and unpredictably. Give them space and pass them as soon as you can do so safely.
Tire blowouts. Hot weather causes the air in your tires to expand, which can lead to a blowout in well-worn wheels. Check your tires on a regular basis during the summer months, especially during heat waves. Also, watch out for semi-truck tire remnants, as they blow out frequently in hot weather.
Construction. Orange barrels are a common sight in the summertime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that construction and maintenance work zones averaged 669 driving fatalities per year from 2007 through 2012. Construction zones always call for extra caution.
There are more bicycles and motorcycles on the road. Bicyclists and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road due to the lack of protection they have as exposed riders. The warm weather in the summer brings these open-air vehicles out in force, so treat them with respect and allow them plenty of room.
Sun and excess heat. The scorching summer sun can dehydrate you on long drives, so keep a bottle of water handy. And of course, the chance of your engine overheating increases, especially if you have to rely on your air conditioner to keep yourself from overheating. If your engine overheats, pull over to let it cool down.
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