People tend to think that summer is the safest time to be on the road. After all, there is no snow or ice on the road, but there are other challenges and dangers you need to be aware of before you get behind the wheel this summer.
What are some common driving challenges of summer?
School is out. When school is out for the summer, more children are playing and biking outside, which increases the risk of a pedestrian or bicycle accident.
More teenagers are also driving during the day. Their inexperience, combined with driving on unfamiliar roads, creates a danger for all road users.
Vacation time. Summertime is vacation time. This means more people on the road, which increases traffic congestion and can lead to accidents. Since many vacations involve road trips, our roadways are often full of out-of-towners who are not familiar with the local area. These drivers might make sudden lane changes to avoid missing their exit from the highway or cause traffic by driving more slowly in unfamiliar areas.
Summer sun and heat. Days are longer in the summer, with more time for the sun to blind driver's visibility. Heat can also be a factor, especially when people get into a hot car.
A person driving a car without air conditioning may be tempted to drive faster to cool down the car, or may be hesitant to stop because of the heat. If you have been out in the heat, you may be dehydrated. Dehydration can cause a person to become weak, dizzy, have cloudy thinking, or even lose consciousness.
'Tis the season…for road construction. With road construction comes lane closures, detours, and lower speed limits. Inattentive or impatient drivers can easily find themselves in collisions when in a construction zone.
Tired tires. Always check the tread on your tires before driving during these summer months. Tires with too much wear and too little tread are more likely to have blowouts on hot summer roads. Also, because of the summer construction boom, nails are more likely to be found on roads in the summertime.
How can I stay safe on roads in the summer?
Keep a careful lookout. Especially when driving through residential neighborhoods, drive slowly and keep an eye out for children who may dart out into the road. More pedestrians are walking and running on the roads in the summer, so be on the lookout for them as well. Always check your side and rearview mirrors for bicycles and motorcycles.
Be aware of teen drivers. Teen drivers face several challenges. They are inexperienced, they may be distracted by friends or electronic devices, and their immaturity may cause them to make risky decisions. Never crowd or tailgate a teen driver. If a teen driver is going slowly, he may be nervous. Honking your horn or yelling will only make the situation worse.
Be patient with out-of-town drivers. After all, they are bringing money into our economy. Think about a time when you were lost in an unfamiliar city. Locals getting angry at you would only have made the situation worse.
If you are the out-of-town driver, do as much preparation as possible, so you will know where you are going. Have someone in the car serve as the navigator. That way you can keep your eyes on the road instead of looking at a map, your notes, or a navigation app.
Inspect your car before setting out on the road. Make sure your tires have plenty of tread. Also, check to see if they are over- or underinflated. Do not overload your car with people or cargo. Overloaded cars are harder to keep under control, and more likely to have tire blowouts.
Before a long road trip, have a mechanic check your car for road worthiness. Make sure the air-conditioning is working. Take steps to prevent the engine from overheating. Use sunshades to block sun and heat from the passenger compartment. Throw a towel over the steering wheel, so it will not burn your hands when it is time to drive.
When driving through construction zones, you should have two goals: drive safely and help those around you drive safely. When approaching a sudden slowdown on the road, tap your brakes multiple times to alert drivers behind you. Large trucks and RVs need a much longer distance to come to a stop. It is not enough to drive cautiously to avoid causing an accident. You should also do everything in your power to prevent other vehicles from hitting you.
Always bring sunglasses and a bottle of water with you when driving during the summer. This will keep the sun out of your eyes and keep you hydrated, allowing you to focus on the road. Remember to never attempt to put on sunglasses or drink while driving.
The Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian: Your Houston Car Accident Legal Team
Even if you follow all the laws and drive safely wherever you go, accidents happen. If you were in an accident that was not your fault, the Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian, P.C. can help. Call us today at 713-863-1515 to schedule your free consultation.