By Daniel Brown, Risk Control Technical Manager
Driving during the summer months is supposed to be enjoyable, right? No more snow plows, icy roads, or frosty windows. Think again! Some of summer’s worst driving hazards could soon have you wishing it was January again. Here are some of the ways you can stay safe when summer driving hazards heat up.
While children are enjoying the summer, professional drivers have an extra worry. Remain alert and plan for the unexpected, especially near residential areas, shopping centers and recreational areas. According to accident statistics, summer break is the most dangerous time for teen drivers. More vehicle fatalities involving teens occur during June, July and August than during any other months. Inexperience, distraction and late-night driving are some of the factors that contribute to the increased teen driver accident risk.
Hot weather can be hard on vehicles. This increases the potential for vehicles to be stopped along the roadside as a result of mechanical breakdowns. Most professional drivers know that stopping on the shoulder of the road can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, many other motorists do not recognize the dangers involved. Approach vehicles stopped along the side of the road with caution. Be prepared for the vehicle’s occupants to be outside the vehicle and dangerously close to the roadway. As a courtesy, move over a lane whenever possible. Your vehicle will also be under added stress from the heat. Extra care should be taken during the summer to inspect your vehicle to confirm it is in good shape to withstand the summer heat. Having a fire extinguisher easily accessible in the vehicle is a good idea. If you must stop on the side of the road for a legitimate emergency, always pull as far away from the traveled portion of the roadway as safely as possible. Activate your emergency flashers and place emergency warning triangles around your vehicle promptly.
Highway construction zones present hazards for workers and motorists alike. Being impatient and distracted can lead to big problems. Read more about work zone safety by logging in to the Risk Control Customer Portal and searching “work zone safety” in the Keyword search.
Summer is a time when millions of recreational travelers take to the roads, often creating hazards that professional drivers need to anticipate. Recreational travelers might slow down, stop, or pull on and off the roadway unexpectedly. They may also not be fully accustomed to driving their large recreational vehicles. They may not be able to maneuver effectively while pulling trailers or while their vehicles are loaded down with extra baggage and equipment. In some areas where traffic congestion is already a concern, recreational travelers could make the problem worse. Professional drivers should take care to increase their following distance if they are driving behind recreational travelers and always exercise patience and good judgment when passing.
Summer is a popular time for motorcycles. Because of their size, motorcycles also present unique safety concerns. One concern is that motorcycles are more difficult to see than other types of vehicles on the road. Most collisions involving motorcycles result from the driver of the other vehicle not seeing the motorcycle. Another concern is the increased risk of injury to motorcycle riders if they are involved in accidents. For these reasons, it is important for drivers to watch for motorcyclists and to be extra cautious when they are on the road.
Safe driving fundamentals to help make this summer safe and enjoyable for everyone:
Speed management Attentiveness Following distance Expect the unexpected
Test your knowledge! Take the summer safety driving quiz.