Tips and Blogs

Tips & Blogs: Summer Driving

By 26th May 2021June 2nd, 2021No Comments

Summer: the season of picnics, barbecues, holidays and road trips. This summer, the promise of a return to normality most of us excited about getting packed up for all kinds of adventure.

Winter gets most of the attention for dangerous driving conditions, but summer has it’s own set of often-overlooked hazards.

Here are a few key things to be aware of when driving this summer:

1. Stay hydrated

Loughborough University found in a study that dehydrated drivers make the same number of mistakes as drink-drivers. On the one hand, reaching for a bottle can be a hazardous distraction. On the other, we should absolutely make sure we have fluid on hand if we need it. Stopping regularly is best practice: this will give you the best opportunities to refresh and recharge without distracting.

2. Be careful with medications

Another comparison to drink driving – some hay fever medications cause drowsiness, nausea, and other symptoms that could impair your ability to drive. If police think you aren’t fit to drive, you can be arrested and prosecuted.
Of course, being sick with hay fever can be distracting too: sneezing while driving at 70mph can effectively blind us for 100 metres. The key is to be aware of what the potential side-effects of our medication are. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor.

3. Sleepiness (and jet lag)

Summer is travel season, and it’s growing increasingly likely that we will indeed be able to visit faraway lands this year. If you do manage to get away to different time zones, be aware of jet lag and how it could affect your ability to drive. Sleepiness is another danger that is often underestimated.
Jet lag isn’t the only reason for tired drivers. Less sleep, long road trips and increased social activity are all likely with summer, and all can result in less sleep.

4. Summer road conditions

A little-known but significant change in road conditions: During dry-spells, bitumen in the asphalt and oil and rubber from our cars build up on the road surface. When rain does inevitably come, this built-up oily residue makes road surfaces much more slippery than they ordinarily would be when wet.

5. Check your vehicle

Proper checks are key to minimizing the possibility of breaking down, and avoiding the stress and potential danger that comes with it. We recommend the POWDERY Checklist:

• Petrol/Power – Preparation is key: Don’t risk leaving it until the last minute to top-up or charge

• Oil

• Water – Including screenwash

• Damage

• Electrics

• Rubber – Check your tyres thoroughly; higher summer temperatures can increase the risk of a blowout

• Yourself - Don't forget about hydration, medication, intoxication, fatigue, and other factors that can affect your capability

Do you want to maximise road safety for yourself or your drivers? There are a multitude of ways in which IAM RoadSmart can help – come and talk to us at the  Safety & Health Expo Connect 2021 and find out what the perfect solution is for you.

Charlie Reynolds

Author Charlie Reynolds

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