Summertime driving is usually very enjoyable. Warm weather road trips and journeys to the beach with family and friends provide great pleasure to many in summer. But there are also several dangers associated with summertime driving that disabled drivers need to be aware of. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate the dangers of summertime driving and stay safe on the road during the summer months.
Summertime Driving Dangers
What are the dangers of driving in the summer? There can be several dangers associated with summertime driving. These include:
- Bright sunlight causing vision problems
- Adverse weather conditions
- Road damage
- Heavy traffic
Do people drive worse in the summer? Roads tend to be especially busy during the summer months as people travel to and from vacations. This can result in more people driving while tired, driving for extended periods, driving while distracted, and generally driving in a more hurried and irresponsible way.
Tips On Summer Driving: Dangers To Avoid
Let’s talk about some of the biggest summertime driving dangers and some hot weather driving safety tips that can help you to avoid them.
1. Bright Sunlight Hampering Vision
Bright sunlight can cause glare and hamper vision while driving in summer. This can lead to traffic accidents.
You can reduce glare when driving in summer by:
- Wearing polarized sunglasses
- Using your vehicle’s sun visor
- Fixing chips or cracks in your windshield
- Not keeping shiny objects on the dash
2. Vehicle Breakdowns
Overheating can cause tire blowouts and vehicle breakdowns in warm summer weather.
To reduce the chances of a breakdown or blowout, you should:
- Check tire pressure
- Check your vehicle’s coolant system, radiator, and pressure cap
- Check hoses and belts for signs of blisters, cracks, and wear
- Check fuel, water, and coolant levels and look for leaks
If you do happen to break down, it’s important that your vehicle is stocked with the following safety equipment:
- Coolant fluid
- Drinking water
- First aid kit
- Spare medication if necessary
- Cell phone and car mobile phone charger
- Flashlight and batteries
- Reflective triangles and a reflective vest
- Spare tire, tripod jack, wheel wrench
- Tool kit
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Windshield washer fluid
Dehydration is a risk when traveling in hot, summer weather. You can avoid dehydration by always making sure your vehicle is stocked with plenty of fresh drinking water and taking time to drink regularly.
4. Sunburn And Sunstroke
Sunburn and sunstroke are very real possibilities when driving in the hot sun. If you are driving a motorcycle or convertible especially, the wind can make it seem as though you’re staying cool, even while your skin is actually being burned quite badly.
You can avoid sunburn and sunstroke by wearing sunscreen. You may also want to wear long sleeves when traveling by motorcycle.
5. Heavy Vacation Traffic
Traffic is often heavier during the summer months, especially during times when a lot of people are taking vacations. Heavy vacation traffic can be dangerous – a lot of people using the roads at the same time can result in delays, tired driving, and breakdowns. It also means you are forced to be in closer proximity to other drivers, some of whom may not be especially responsible behind the wheel.
The best way to stay safe in heavy vacation traffic is to practice defensive driving. Defensive driving involves:
- Having safety as your top priority
- Staying always aware of your surroundings
- Never relying on good driving from other road users
- Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you
- Driving within the speed limit
- Avoiding distractions
6. Tired Driving
During the summer months, a lot of people take long journeys. This means that there are more tired drivers on the roads than usual. Tired driving can be lethal.
To mitigate the effects of tiredness on driving, you should always stop for a rest, nap, fresh air, and/or coffee if you are feeling tired behind the wheel. And, as always, practice defensive driving to protect yourself from other road users who may be driving tired.
7. Adverse Weather Conditions
In some places, summer weather can be very unpredictable. Extreme heat, heavy rain, storms, and tornadoes are common during the summer in certain parts of the US. Extreme weather conditions can make driving dangerous.
You can reduce the dangers of driving in adverse weather by always checking ahead to find out what type of weather you can expect on a journey you are planning. If you know what type of weather to expect, you can prepare accordingly. This may involve packing suitable equipment, driving more cautiously than usual, or postponing or rerouting your journey.
8. Damaged Roads
During hot summer weather, asphalt roads can melt, erode, or crack. This road damage can cause traffic accidents.
You can mitigate the risks of driving on heat-damaged roads by practicing safe, defensive driving, and making sure your vehicle is in great working order and well-suited to driving in hot weather.
9. Forgetting Your Disabled Parking Permit
If you’re traveling in summer, especially if you are taking a vacation or road trip, it is essential that you remember to bring your disabled parking permit. All US states, as well as quite a few foreign countries, recognize disabled parking permits issued by any US state – but if you don’t have your permit, you cannot use disabled parking infrastructure.
You can avoid this by always having your disabled parking placard either on your person or safely stowed in the glove compartment of your vehicle.
How To Get A Disabled Parking Permit
The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to first have a consultation with a state-licensed medical professional. This can be done online via telemedicine.
Once the medical professional has verified your suitability for disabled parking, they will sign an application form and email it to you. You can then complete the application form and submit it to your local disabled parking authorities. In most states, this will be your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Featured image by Mateo Giraud on Unsplash