Summer time, and the driving is… easy. Or so it should be. But wait, pandemic or no pandemic, there are always plenty of summer driving hazards waiting for you, just around the corner. This article aims to address them.
Ideally in summer, you’d be cruising along Big Sur admiring the incredible scenery. But things are, of course, a little different when you are a fleet manager or small business owner. You’re in charge of a fleet of drivers that still have to hit the road and be safe.
Life on the road always has the tendency to bring us the unexpected. Be it increases in traffic, or less traffic (depending on where you are in the world), for example. Summer tends to bring beautiful memories and plans of road trips back to mind. But while you can hopefully relax a little, when it comes to driving, you still need to be on your guard.
Summer driving hazards: an introduction
While the winter season is usually associated with difficult driving conditions, the fact remains that summer also has its own, let’s say, unique risks. For example, typically we see increases in traffic with everybody on holidays, or increases in road construction. Then there’s the out-of-town recreational drivers that pull boats and other trailers full of various things, as well as camper vans and caravans. In a nutshell, summer driving hazards need drivers to be extra alert and make sure they are sharing the road.
As is well documented, more American workers are killed in vehicle accidents than any other type of workplace accident. And, over 90 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by drivers. As a fleet manager, you need to make sure your less experienced drivers are fully aware of the types of summer driving hazards that can crop up. That’s so they can act with the utmost caution, to avoid them.
Here are six of the most prominent hazards that we think your drivers need to look out for:
Ahhh those carefree holidaymakers, roadtrippers and general vacationers. The roads are full of them during the summer months. And this means that you may have increases in traffic in some areas. But it also means that you have a lot of people who are drifting out of their comfort zones into different areas; driving on roads they may not be used to. This is understandably a recipe for an accident or two. So, in areas where vacationers are more likely to be moving around, your fleet drivers should take extra care.
Threats on two-wheels
The warmer months also bring a lot of cyclists and occasional motorcyclists out of the woodwork and onto the roads. Hence the threat on two wheels. Not only is there an increase in both categories out on the roads, but since not all of them are used to travelling on busy roads on two wheels, then you can appreciate where the potential problems begin.
You need to make sure that your fleet drivers fully understand the summer driving hazards two-wheel warriors present. Including the risk of accidents caused by a vehicle turning in front of a motorcycle or bicycle. Both can be difficult to see and can also disappear in your blind spot pretty quickly. It can also be easy to misjudge a motorcycle’s or bicycle’s speed. In terms of practical advice, your drivers should always check twice to make sure that a motorcycle or bicycle is a safe distance from their vehicle, at all times.
It’s always the same, everywhere you go. In the summer time, when the roads are expected to be less busy is when construction work often begins. This brings many problems with it; such as traffic delays and detours caused by the construction. These can make some “typical” bottleneck roads and areas even worse.
Just as when you are slow-moving in the city, you will need to make sure your drivers stay alert, but most of all patient, as the try to get through traffic caused by narrower roads, workers and construction vehicles on the roads. Your experienced fleet drivers may know how to handle this. But, what practical tips can you give drivers who are new to the game?
- Try to avoid construction zones after discovering them, or allow extra time for trips.
- Find an alternate route using your vehicle management solution, or try to adjust your fleet schedules to avoid such areas.
- Always follow any diversion signs. And try to merge into other lanes well ahead of the construction area, if some lanes are closed.
- Expect the unexpected: slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions.
Surprise, surprise! It usually gets hotter in the summer. And this can wreak havoc to a driver’s psychology, especially if they are delayed in traffic. But that’s not where it ends. You also have to factor in hot and bothered pedestrians. They may not be fully focused on their movements. That’s because of the hot weather, as well as the more relaxed vibes. This is a lethal combination which leads to accidents.
Unexpected weather conditions
Also during summer, you also have to deal with some weather conditions that can make driving hard work. It’s not only the heat, for example. In many areas, your drivers may be exposed to topical weather phenomenons, such as flash summer storms, which can burst out of nowhere. This can cause a dry road to become super greasy, pretty quickly. So, your drivers will need to be aware and take extra note of such situations.
Stay safe in summer…
The moral of the story is simple. Always have safety top of mind – whatever the season. Each one has its own challenges. We hope you find these points as useful as our other summer tips for fleet managers. Clearly, there are plenty of summer driving hazards to bear in mind. And focusing on defensive driving and the details helps keep your fleet drivers – and those around them – safe.
Enjoy summer, and expect the unexpected!