August is National Road Victim month, which was set up to remember those who have been injured or killed on the roads.
Although road safety concerns are present throughout the year, the summer months can be a particularly dangerous time of year, especially for more vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.
As part of our campaign to raise awareness for road safety during Road Victim Month, Major Trauma Group share our top tips for summer driving and road safety.
Why is summer dangerous for road users?
Roads can be dangerous at all times of the year, with an increase in incidents happening due to the dark evenings in winter. However, the summer months can also be a particularly risky time of year for road users for a number of reasons including:
- Increased traffic: During the summer months, there is often an increase in road traffic due to staycations, road trips, and holiday travel. More vehicles on the roads can lead to congestion, which increases the risk of accidents.
- School holidays: With schools closed for summer holidays, there are more children and teenagers playing outside and crossing roads, which requires extra caution from drivers.
- Tourists and unfamiliar drivers: Popular tourist destinations attract visitors who may not be familiar with local roads and traffic patterns. This can lead to confusion and unexpected driving behaviours.
- Weather conditions: Higher temperatures can affect both road conditions, vehicle performance, and may also lead to fatigued drivers. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause road surfaces to become slippery or soft, leading to accidents. Moreover, vehicles may experience tyre blowouts or engine failures due to overheating.
- Visibility: The sun shining in a driver’s eyes can significantly impact their ability to drive safely, leading to an increased risk of accidents. It is also worth noting that UK weather can be extremely unpredictable; thunderstorms and heavy rain are also common causes of road traffic collisions due to decreased visibility. Moreover, with staycations becoming a popular holiday choice, an over packed car boot may lead to poor visibility in a rear window, leading to an increased accident risk.
- Fatigue and dehydration: Summer heat can lead to dehydration, which may affect drivers’ alertness and reaction times. Long journeys in hot weather can also contribute to driver fatigue, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Increased pedestrian and bicycle activity: In warmer weather, more pedestrians, joggers, horse riders and cyclists are out on the roads, and drivers need to be especially watchful for these vulnerable road users.
- Allergies and hay fever: Many UK road users are susceptible to hay fever and other allergies. Watering eyes and sneezing whilst driving can distract road users and lead to serious accidents.
- Summer clothing and footwear: Footwear, such as flip flops may have an impact on a driver’s ability to drive safely. Although wearing footwear, such as flip flops is not illegal, Section 97 of the Highway Code states that clothing and footwear should not prevent drivers from using their vehicle controls in the correct manner.
How to stay safe on the roads during summer
Driving safely on UK roads during the summer requires awareness of specific challenges and adopting proper driving practices. Listed below are some tips to help you drive safely during the summer:
- Stay hydrated and keep cool: Although we are more susceptible to rain during summer, UK weather can get hot, especially during heatwaves. Stay hydrated and use your car air conditioning to ensure you remain alert and focused whilst driving.
- Check your vehicle: Before setting off on a long journey, check your tyre pressure, brakes, lights, windscreen wipers, cooling systems and fluid levels. Proper vehicle maintenance is essential for safe driving.
- Be prepared for traffic: Summer is a peak travel season, so expect increased traffic on popular routes, especially during bank holidays and weekends. Plan your journey in advance and allow plenty of time for potential delays.
- Avoid distractions: Keep your attention focused on the road. Don’t use mobile phones, avoid eating, or engaging in any other distractions while driving. Take allergy medications to avoid the risk of sneezing whilst driving, ensuring that they won’t cause drowsiness.
- Watch for pedestrians, horses and cyclists: More pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists are on the roads during summer. Be vigilant, reduce your speed and give them adequate space and consideration.
- Enhance visibility: Be prepared for sun glare during sunrise and sunset. Use your sun visor and a pair of sunglasses to reduce glare. Keep your windshield clean to enhance visibility. Ensure your car is not over packed and that windows are not blocked by luggage etc.
- Follow speed limits: Stick to speed limits, especially in residential areas. Speeding significantly increases the risk of accidents.
- Be cautious in rain: Summer showers are common in the UK. Drive cautiously when the roads are wet, as they can be slippery. Use headlights when visibility is reduced.
- Take breaks on long journeys: If you’re embarking on a long road trip, take regular breaks to combat fatigue and stay alert.
- Respect other drivers: Be patient and considerate towards other road users. Avoid aggressive driving behaviours and always use indicators when changing lanes or making turns.
- Park safely: When parking in hot weather, never leave children, pets, or vulnerable individuals inside the vehicle, and try to park in the shade. Heat inside a parked car can become dangerously high.
- Wear appropriate footwear: Although flip flops may be the more comfortable and convenient option during summer, they may not be the safest choice for driving. Choose appropriate footwear to reduce your risk of an accident.
- Stay Informed: Keep an eye on weather forecasts and road updates before and during your journey to be prepared for any adverse conditions.
Remember, road safety is a shared responsibility. By following these tips and being considerate to others, you can contribute to a safer driving experience for everyone on UK roads during the summer.
Making a claim for a road traffic collision
If you have been injured in a road traffic collision or incident that wasn’t your fault, you may wish to consider making a claim for compensation.
Major Trauma Group is a network of specialist serious injury solicitors, rehabilitation clinicians and supporting services, with a proven record of successfully handling major trauma claims.
In addition to obtaining compensation for your injuries, our focus is on securing funding to receive the right rehabilitation at the right time to enable you to make the best possible recovery and a return to your pre-incident lifestyle.
We ensure clients have future care packages in place and can arrange adaptations to properties if required as part of the claim. We will also ensure that you are compensated for future losses such as loss of earnings or pension if they occur as a direct result of your injuries.
If you have any queries surrounding making a road traffic collision claim with Major Trauma Group, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today for a free no obligation chat. Contact us via email, telephone or live chat on our website.