Kwik Fit | Thursday 4th July 2019 3:45pm
Perhaps unlike during the winter months, you might find driving throughout the summer to be quite enjoyable. The weather is more likely to be warm and dry, and you may even be able to have the windows down and sunroof open to embrace the sunshine.
However, itís important to recognise that there are some risks associated with driving at this time of year - some of which you might not be aware of. Here are six dangers you should know about.
1. There's an increase in drink drivers
The warmer weather and lighter evenings mean that many people like to venture out, whether itís to a friendís house for a drink and a BBQ or to the pub to soak up the sun in the beer garden. While itís great to get out and enjoy the sunny days while they last, it can mean that some people overindulge before they get behind the wheel, and as a result, thereís an increase in the number of drink drivers who are out on the roads.
In the UK, there are strict alcohol limits in place when it comes to driving, and if a person is found to be in a vehicle while under the influence, they could land themselves in big trouble. They could be requested to pay a hefty fine, be banned from driving or even be imprisoned.
Put simply, itís just not worth drinking and then getting into the driving seat. It puts you, your passengers and other road users in danger, and it could have serious consequences.
2. Your hay fever symptoms can make driving more difficult
The truth is, the summer months can be a struggle for those who suffer with hay fever - especially when it comes to driving. Fom runny noses, to watery eyes, to frequent sneezing fits, the symptoms of this condition can seriously hinder your ability to drive safely.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to stop your hay fever symptoms from getting in the way of you and your driving. For example, you could get in the habit of wearing sunglasses while youíre behind the wheel. Aside from protecting your eyes from the sun, this accessory can also stop pollen particles from getting into your eyes.
You may also want to try driving with the windows closed to prevent these pollen particles from entering your vehicle in the first place. If your car doesnít already have them installed, you could even have pollen filters fitted. These accessories work by removing pollen particles from the outside air before they pass through the air vents in the car itself.
If your symptoms are particularly bad, it might help to try an effective allergy medication, such as an antihistamine. However, itís important to bear in mind that some treatments can cause side effects such as reduced coordination, sleepiness, slow reaction speed and impaired judgement, so itís crucial that you use a non-drowsy version.
3. You might experience longer journey times
During the summer months, many people choose to head off on holiday, both abroad and within the UK, and some decide to go on days out. As a result, you may find that your journey times increase due to there being more motorists on the roads than usual, especially if youíre driving on motorways.
With this in mind, itís worth allowing yourself extra time to reach your destination. You may also want to plan your route in advance, and it could help to check the local traffic news before you leave. If you can, plan your journey so that youíre not travelling at peak times and avoid busy roads where the traffic might be particularly heavy.
4. There are more young people on the roads
Since schools, colleges and universities take a break during the summer months, itís important to be aware that there will most likely be more young people out and about on the roads - many of whom may have only recently passed their driving tests. The inexperience of these drivers means that they are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident, so itís worth bearing this in mind and making sure youíre extra cautious when youíre behind the wheel this sunny season.
5. The warmer weather can wreak havoc with your tyres
Did you know that the rise in temperature during the summer can have an impact on your tyre pressure? During sunny spells, the pressure in each tyre can fluctuate, and unless each one is inflated to the correct level, you could be putting yourself in danger. If one or more of your tyres are incorrectly inflated, this could have an impact on your grip and handling, meaning you might not be in full control of the vehicle. This can be particularly dangerous if youíre driving at high speed.
To avoid this problem, it helps to get into the habit of checking your tyres to make sure each one is inflated correctly - especially before you embark on a long journey. The good news is, doing this is simple and quick.
First, it helps to know the correct pressure for your tyres. This can usually be found in your car manual or on a sticker located inside the driverís door. The information will be provided in pounds per inch (PSI). The PSI is the number that each of your tyres should be inflated to. You can then use a tyre pressure gauge - a small tool that is inserted into the tyreís valve cap and shows you whether you need to inflate or deflate it.
6. Look out for cyclists
The summer is the perfect time for cyclists to get out and about, and as a driver, itís important that youíre careful when it comes to manoeuvring around these road users. When youíre approaching a cyclist and you need to overtake, you must give them enough space. The Highway Code states that you should give as much room as if you were overtaking another car. As a general rule, itís recommended that the gap is around 1.5m. If there isnít enough space, the road ahead appears narrow or there is a bend coming up, you should hang back until it is safe to overtake.
Keeping these tips in mind should ensure that youíre able to drive safely this summer without putting yourself or anyone else in harmís way.
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