Top 10 hazards of driving in summer

Top 10 hazards of driving in summer

There’s nothing quite like a cruise around the countryside, or even abroad on holiday. Here are 10 things to look out for when driving at home or away this season

Take great care when overtaking and look out for warning signs

Summer driving is one of life’s great pleasures – there’s nothing like cruising along with the sun glinting off your shades.

Unfortunately even warm, dry roads are full of hazards.

Be aware of these, however, and your sunny days on the road will be a blast.

1. Bicycles and horses

The AA advises that you leave ‘at least a metre’ when passing bicycles.

Horses are more of a risk, but they have the same rights to the road as cars.

The government’s ‘THINK!’ campaign says to pass slow and wide, with no loud noises.

2. More motorcycles

Double check at junctions, as these are black spots – despite bikers being 38 times more likely to die, being hit by a bike can still be deadly.

In a side impact causing a change in speed over 40mph, says ROSPA, a belted driver has an 85% chance of death.

3. Rain after a dry spell

A 2003 study on over a million US road crashes found that the more it rained, the fewer the fatal accidents.

Rain after a dry spell leaves roads slick, it takes a few days for the dust, oil and diesel to wash away.

After three dry weeks, the risk of a fatal crash is 10% higher than if it rained all along.

4. More teenagers

Holidays mean more teenagers on the roads, and according to road safety charity, car crashes are the biggest single killer of UK youth.

One in five new drivers has a crash within six months, and men aged 17-20 are seven times more at risk than any other group.

5. Kids in the street

In 2010, 180 people died in crashes at legal speeds.

The most recent study found that only 5% of pedestrian deaths came from 20mph roads, while 85% of the cars that killed were doing between 30 and 40mph.

The message? Good weather means children playing outside, and it’s not always safe to do 30mph.

6. Harassed holidaymakers

One American study looked at the effects of distraction, and found that on average drivers took their eye off the ball once every six minutes.

Distractions included phone calls, food, drinks, grooming, smoking and children.

Astonishingly, 40% of those studied started reading or writing.

7. Vegetation

You can’t see over the hedges, it’s black under the trees and the leaves are crowding into the road.

Visibility, despite clear blue skies, is bad.

8. Tractors

Tractors don’t need brake lights or indicators, and they’re loud.

The driver may not know you’re even there – and you may not see the field it’s about to turn into.

Take great care overtaking.

9. Deer in the road

Deer are most active in the summer around sunrise and in the darkness before midnight.

Known crossing places have warning signs.

10. Breakdowns

Lovely weather means more breakdowns, as raggedy cars go on long hot trips.

Look for leaking hoses, low water levels and broken fans before leaving, and watch for breakdowns blocking the road.

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