Safe driving in the summer can be difficult to do. It can be dangerous because the weather is warmer and we are on our summer holidays. The hot weather leaves us feeling relaxed and easy going and we forget to pay as much attention as we should to the road. Summer months are actually a time when we should take extra care and concentrate on the driving conditions around us. The roads are likely to be more crowded than they normally are, as this is typically a time when families take off for travel. Since school is out, young people (many of them may be first time drivers), may also be out driving; younger school children may be playing in and around streets. Tourists, unfamiliar with their surroundings, could contribute to unusual driving habits, all of which demands your close attention.
1. Practice Driving Etiquette
Recall basic driving rules and etiquette, and you should be just fine. When it comes to safe driving in the summer, the basics are the best rules: be aware, treat fellow drivers with respect, no aggressive driving, don’t tail gate, no speeding, don’t weave, yield to the right of way, use seat belts and child car seats, don’t text or talk on your cell phone, etc. Simple road rules are the easiest to follow and the most beneficial for traffic efficiency and safety.
In a recent survey conducted by the shared effort of the Canadian Automobile Association, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and The Canada Safety Council, other points of consideration were also identified as being the major causes for traffic mishaps. They are as follows:
2. NEVER Drink and Drive
Never consume any alcoholic beverages or pharmaceuticals, which may induce drowsiness while driving. If you are certain that you will drink or take any medications, which may decrease your ability to stay alert, plan for a designated driver. If you discover that you are too impaired for driving, pull off the road and wait for the effects to wear off, or call a taxi, or a friend to drive your vehicle. .
3. Don’t Fight Fatigue
The same advice for handling the dangers of drugs and alcohol, also applies to a condition referred to as “driver fatigue” when it comes to summer driving. If you feel yourself unable to pay attention, or falling asleep behind the wheel, pull your car off the road. If someone cannot come to you and drive your car for you, take a short nap until you are wide-awake and alert. Use your cell phone to set an alarm for you to wake in an hour or two, so that you don’t unintentionally wind up sleeping for hours in an unknown location.
4. Avoid Being Distracted
Take steps to avoid distractions while you are driving. This can be in the form of passengers, cargo, even blind spots within your own vehicle. When it comes to summer driving, there are more reasons for you to be distracted than at any other time of the year. It is imperative to pay close attention to the extra street traffic such as children, bikers, motorcyclists, lost tourists, etc. These may take your attention, preventing you from watching the road ahead of you.
5. Plan For Driving After Sun Down
One other major factor when it comes to safe driving in the summer, is night driving. Many drivers, who don’t normally operate their vehicles during or after sundown, may find themselves doing so if they are on holiday. Night driving is quite different from that of driving during the day. When a vehicle is facing you with lights shining in your eyes, try to look at the road as much as possible, without staring into the oncoming headlights. For your own vehicle, when approaching an oncoming car, remember to dim your lights, turning off the high beams.
6. Trailers and Other Attachments
If you are towing a trailer, it is especially important for you to make sure your vehicle is checked, working properly, and able to handle the payload. It is recommended that you review the owner’s manual of both vehicle and trailer; if the manual/information is not available, check online or with your vehicle dealer. Check all signal lights, mirrors, cables, etc. If you are in any way experiencing blind spots, be sure to have extra mirrors installed. Recently, technology has made it possible to have a mini cam installed at the back of your trailer, with a viewing screen installed on your dash board, similar to a portable DVD player, but the size of a GPS unit. These units may be a bit costly; however, since they can decrease your chances of experiencing an accident, in the long run they may prove cost effective. If you are not familiar with driving a trailer, you may wish to practice in an empty parking lot. The feel of a vehicle is quite different when it is pulling a trailer. You also may want to try parking, making turns, and backing up.
When it comes to safe driving double check your insurance. You may think that your normal insurance policy covers your summer driving insurance; and in fact, it may do so. However, when traveling with a trailer, whether you are pulling a boat, car, or other attachment, it is highly recommended that you contact your insurance broker. You may have sufficient coverage. But, because you are on holiday, traveling, pulling a trailer, it is well worth it to make sure that you have sufficient insurance coverage. After all it’s better, if you do require additional coverage, to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!