Monday June 27th, 2011 12:30 The Top 5 Summer Driving Hazards

As we all know, driving can be a very dangerous pursuit in any season. Thousands each year are killed on the roads on we are aware that leaving the house in the car always carries a risk. Most of us however are extremely cautious, respectful of other road users and take the necessary precautions when out on the roads.

There are of course some situations that can present more danger than others. Weather conditions have a particular influence on road safety and people often consider extreme winter conditions like snow and ice to be the most hazardous. While this may be true, summer driving can also throw up its own set of dangers.

Here are five things to watch out for when driving in the Summer Months.

1. Driving in Bare Feet

On those balmy summer afternoons, walking around in barefoot or wearing flip-flops really evokes those holiday memories; the gentle breeze whipping around your toes is one of those subtle sensations that make the season such a pleasure. Of course if there is the need to pop out in the car to grab some more charcoal for the BBQ, the temptation is to jump in the car barefooted for that quick jaunt to the supermarket.

Problem is driving in bare feet can be very dangerous since that sensation is quite different from what you’re used to when wearing shoes with a substantial sole. This can cause misjudgements in pressure applied to pedals leading to needless accidents. If you are going out in the motor, even for the quickest of trips, don some footwear!

2. Wasps in the Car

We’ve all experienced that moment of sheer panic when we’re cruising down the road, windows open music up without a care in the world when suddenly a wasp invites itself into the cabin. Now, being in the presence of a wasp isn’t enjoyable at the best of times, but having to dodge the attentions of this angry insect when trapped in a cabin travelling at 50mph is positively panic-inducing!

Driving with the windows open in summer is of course necessary, unless you are lucky enough to have air condition, so the wasp issue is largely unavoidable. Just be sure to remain calm, wasps don’t usually sting unless they are agitated. Pull over at the next available opportunity and calmly usher the wasp out/run away screaming.


3. Drinking Water While Driving

We all know that drinking alcohol before driving is an offence that’s more than likely to seriously ruin your day. Drinking water while driving however is essential on hot days to maintain hydration. Getting dehydrated can make you feel lethargic and impact concentration levels causing you to make mistakes.

Reaching for that alluring, icy errant bottle however can also lead to an accident. Since bottles are often a cylindrical shape they tend to roll around on the floor, being catapulted into the passenger footwall under heavy breaking. Reaching for said bottle can lead you to divert your attention away from the road for that crucial second, resulting in disaster.

If you have a passenger, get them to hand you drinks at regular intervals, or alternatively, keep your bottle in the side pocket for easy access.

Man drinking water

4. Glare from the sun

Visibility in the summer months can be as much of a problem as the issues brought about by high temperatures. The likelihood of the sun being out for long periods SHOULD at least be favourable, and for this reason, it is crucial to don a pair of good sunglasses or at least lower the sun visor to aid visibility.

Woman driving car

5. Music Volume

Most of us scowl in disapproval if we see a youngster hacking along in their motor with load music pumping out, but we’d be at pains to admit that we’ve all done it some point, especially when the mercury rises. The feeling of freedom gained from humming and tapping along to our favourite tunes with the wind in our hair is one of the joys of summer.
Excessively loud music in the car can be dangerous however. Not only is it distracting but it can drown other important aural signals you should be aware of when driving. Level crossings for example have an audible warning before they close, and unintentionally ignoring such signals could prove to be fatal.

Enjoy the summer, and enjoy driving, but take the necessary precautions to ensure that the sunny weather doesn’t mean that heat’s turned up in the cabin!

Car stereo

Joe is an automotive blogger currently looking for new Ford Fiesta Deals


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