At a glance, a clear, sun-warmed road is much more welcoming than an icy one in the middle of a snowstorm for the average driver—that's what we think of as the main difference between winter and summer driving. Summer driving is always better and easier than winter driving, right? In a lot of ways, yes—but not always.
Summertime offers its own dangers to drivers and the road just becomes more dangerous by other drivers who are overconfident without ice, snow, or other foreseeable obstacles to impede their progress. As in any situation in which you’re behind the wheel, it’s important to stay aware and safe by being ready for anything. Here are six aspects of summer driving that may make your daily commutes a little more dangerous.
1. More teenagers are out and about.
When school lets out, there are more teenagers on the road more often throughout the day—even if these teens aren’t driving recklessly or with distractions, this still means an increase of inexperienced drivers on the road, which can also increase the potential for an accident. Especially since teens have been shown to be the age group most likely to be involved in car accidents.
2. Vacationers add to road congestion.
Summer is the season for road trips and it never fails that everyone picks the same weekend you did to start that drive to your favorite vacation destination. Additional people in an area for vacation or travel congests the roadways and opens up an opportunity for increased road rage amongst you or your fellow drivers. Plan ahead and watch out for impatient drivers who’ll try to cut you off just because they’re not in the lane they’re supposed to be.
3. Tire blowouts.
The summer heat can do serious damage on your tires—according to AAA, hot weather causes air inside tires to expand, which leads to an increased chance of blowout in well-worn wheels. Check your tire pressure on a regular basis during the summer months, especially during heat waves to lower your chances of a tire blowing out on the road.
4. Road construction.
We’ve seen it all over Fort Wayne recently—and other cities and towns are looking much the same now that the weather’s warmed up. Summer is always a popular time for road construction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that construction and maintenance work zones averaged 773 driving fatalities annually from 2005 to 2014. Just take your time, mind the posted speed limit, and always be a little extra cautious when you drive around construction sites.
5. Bicycles and motorcycles are more abundant.
Cyclists and bikers are on the road more when the weather’s warm, which means sharing the road and watching for these drivers who are more difficult to see are more of a priority than ever. Driving alongside cyclists can make normal maneuvers you might make in traffic or in a parking lot more dangerous for both you and the person on the bike. The IIHS reports that 720 cyclists were involved in fatal accidents with motor vehicles in 2014 alone.
6. Can’t beat the heat.
High temperatures and a scorching sun can dehydrate you on a long drive. Always keep a bottle of water (or two!) handy in your vehicle. As your chance of overheating increases, so does your engine’s, especially if you’ve got your air conditioning cranked up—if your engine starts to overheat, pull over and let it cool down before continuing on your drive.
Summer’s a time to get away and have fun in the sun—just be careful so you and your car are safe and in good shape to keep up with all those summer days. If you’re involved in an accident this summer, put a fighter on your side with Boughter Sinak, LLC.