What is the most dangerous month of the year to drive your car?
You would be forgiven for guessing one of the winter months when ice and darkness grip the nation. Or maybe even sometime in autumn, when the leaves are falling and the nights are drawing in.
You’d probably be surprised to learn that according to recent Department of Transport statistics, July and August are the busiest months on our roads and the summer months see the most fatalities and serious injuries on Britain’s roads. Last year saw 2,330 serious and fatal collisions in July and 2,148 in August. This is almost 1,000 more than February and January.
Here are just a few reasons for the summer spike:
- School’s Out!
It’s the end of the school year and the ‘Great Summer Getaway’ is well underway, which means an increase in traffic all over the country. Whether it’s a short run to the airport or an all-day drive to the coast, families everywhere are hitting the roads. And whichever way you look at it, more cars equals more chance of a collision.
- Packed to the brim
Of course, the ‘Great Summer Getaway’ also means it’s time for a game of Jenga with the boot of your car! Once you’ve got the suitcases, both kids and granny in and just about managed to close the door, you might discover that your visibility is somewhat impaired. Is it really worth taking that extra case of toys if it means you can’t see out of the rear view mirror?
- Weighed down
There’s another danger with having a car full of people and luggage. Namely, that the weight of the car changes its performance. Simple processes like braking and turning corners are a different proposition in a heavier car. Regularly check tyre pressure – you may need to change it if the car is fully loaded.
- Hot and bothered
“Are we nearly there?” “I need a wee!” “Can we stop, I’m hungry?” “I’m bored.” All familiar cries during long car trips. Not ideal at the best of times, but when it’s 30 degrees outside and you’ve been on the same motorway for three hours it’s enough to test even the calmest driver. And an irate driver is more dangerous on the road than a calm one! Make sure you’ve got plenty of snacks on board to help keep everyone calm and hydrated.
- Time is running out
In an unfortunate piece of planning, the two largest airports in the country (Gatwick and Heathrow) are positioned near Britain’s most used mtorway (the M25). This often leads to the leisurely drive to catch a flight turning into a mad dash before check in closes. It’s not a problem that’s exclusive to the outskirts of London either. Make sure you leave plenty of time to make it to the airport…and then add an extra bit just in case!
- Don’t drink and drive!
One of the joys of summer is relaxing in a nice beer garden and supping a few cold drinks. Unfortunately, for a few people this means there’s a temptation of driving to the pub. It goes without saying that you should never even consider drinking and driving, but also watch out for people driving erratically, especially late at night.
- The longest days
People are more likely to drive during daylight hours…in the summer there are more daylight hours…more cars on the road means more chance of a collision. I think this reason is pretty self-explanatory!
- Summer showers
If you’ve got a really good memory, you might recall that it does sometimes rain in this country. Heavy summer storms seem a world away at the minute, but most years have their fair share. Not only does this make driving treacherous during the storms, but it can leave behind dangers such as ‘skid pans’. Make sure you brake early and gently in wet conditions.
- Glaring errors
Finally, there’s the sun itself! Early morning and late evening drives often require sunglasses, visors and whatever else you can find to avoid the sun glaring in your eyes. Visibility can be a big problem, not just in front of you, but also in your mirrors. Plus consider other drivers may have visibility issues themselves and make sure you leave appropriate spaces.
Hopefully it now makes sense why the summer months are often the most hazardous of all for driving.
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You can check out all of our driver training and fleet management options HERE
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