Eight Tips for Safer Summer Driving
July 26, 2012
By Jay Shelley, Vice President, Center for Transportation Safety
Whether you’re a fleet driver or just out on personal business, summertime driving holds its share of risks for everyone on the road. You need to watch out for more traffic, pedestrians and bikers; higher temperatures have an effect on drivers, vehicles and roadways; and longer days and more social activities increase your chances to be involved in crashes and incidents.
Here are some great safety tips specifically for summertime driving:
- Keep the inside of the vehicle cool. If you’re too warm, you can become drowsy and less alert.
- Stay well hydrated. When it’s warm out, it’s important to drink lots of water to avoid compromising our internal body temperatures, blood pressure and even our ability to make good decisions. Always keep a fresh bottle of water in the vehicle.
- Leave more space between you and the cars around you. Warm roadways, heated tires and expansion of metals throughout your vehicle’s construction can impact your stopping distance. Roadways made from a petroleum base do not hold the grip of your tires as well, requiring a far greater stopping distance. To enhance your safety, make sure there’s extra room in front of you and keep an increased circle of safety around your entire space.
- Watch out for the other guy. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that there are 61% more vehicles traveling on unfamiliar roadways during the summer months. They create a risk for last-moment decisions, unexpected lane changes or rapid braking. Leave extra room, don't drive aggressively and always expect the unexpected.
- Reduce vision glare. Heat waves bounce off vehicles and surrounding roadways – and can create reflections and blind spots. Minimize reflections within your vehicle by keeping items properly stored and taking foreign objects off the dashboard and rear window deck.
- Avoid reversing. During summer months, there are more pedestrians, bikers and other vehicles on the road – creating more opportunity to strike something or someone while in reverse. Do everything you can to minimize the use of reverse, making the first movement of a stopped vehicle a forward movement.
- Keep your vehicle in good condition. Minimize vehicle failure by maintaining your vehicle in excellent driving condition to enhance your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
- Keep tire pressure set correctly for the average air temperature. In warmer weather, over-inflated tires can present as much danger as under-inflated ones. Refer to the owner’s manual or the builders’ plate on the inside of driver’s door frame for proper air pressure settings.
As the founder of Center for Transportation Safety, a PHH Arval company dedicated to driver safety training, I can tell you that it’s important to reach everyone who operates a vehicle. One of the best methods for lowering vehicle crashes and events is through education. You and your fleet drivers can become great educators setting excellent examples. Become a part of the solution today!