On average, Americans drive just over 10,000 miles per year, and while you might think winter is the season when driving is the most dangerous what with ice, snow, and sleet making the roads slick and slippery, according to the American Automobile Association, the summer months are considered the 100 Deadliest Days for drivers.
There are many different reasons for this: kids are out of school and out in their neighborhoods, summer activities are a-plenty, families are taking road trips, motorcyclists are on the road, and teen drivers have just gotten their licenses. Not only that, but most of America’s roads are at 70% traffic capacity. That means there’s more room for potholes and other road hazards.
“Everyone should expect more foot and bike traffic in neighborhoods and residential areas as school-age children look to take advantage of the warm weather, longer daylight hours, and not having to prepare for school the following morning,” said AAA.
To help keep everyone safe on the roads this summer, consider the following summer driving safety tips.
Remember to have your car inspected and maintained
Approximately 14 million vehicles on the road today are 25 years old or even older. While older vehicles can work just as great as newer vehicles, it’s important that your car is receiving regular maintenance to keep you and other motorists (and pedestrians) safe.
Certain problems you might not consider a major issue at the time can end up being a major road hazard. For instance, a broken wiper blade can keep you from seeing the road when it rains. And grinding brakes could prevent your car from stopping when you need it to.
Don’t let yourself get distracted
Up to 66% of drivers report letting themselves get distracted while they drive through a parking lot. This is a major safety concern, and not just because 80% of bumper scratches occur when a driver is parking their own vehicle.
Distracted driving, even in parking lots, puts you at greater risk of car accidents because it delays your reaction time. AAA recommends scanning between parked cars and other objects as you drive through parking lots and down the street to avoid hitting pedestrians and kids playing in the area.
Always double-check your blindspots
Whenever you’re changing lanes, merging, or backing out, you want to double check your blind spots. Check your rear mirrors, side mirrors, and look over your shoulder at least twice before you move.
Many drivers are used to checking their blind spots once before they merge or back out. But it’s important to double-check during the summer months because of the increase in motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians that may not otherwise be visible.
Speaking of blind spots, it’s also important to invest in a pair of sunglasses while you’re behind the wheel during the summer. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 AM and 2 PM, and the sun can be especially blinding during sunrise and sunset. Protective sunglasses, prescription or otherwise, can help to keep your eyes on the road even when the sun is glaring.
With warm temperatures and long daylight hours, there are plenty of people outside soaking up the sun. And while 17% of airline passengers prefer to read while traveling, that’s no an option for summer drivers. It’s important to keep an eye out for pedestrians and other motorists during the summer months the same way you’d keep an eye out for deer. By following the tips above, you can make the roads a little safer for everyone this season.