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Unexpected trend of dangerous driving in the summer and what to consider to stay safe on the roads

With summer now truly upon us (although it may not have felt like it at points this year), I've been considering the impact that the season has on our driving.

I recently came across an article which detailed a report by Admiral which showed that drivers are 21% more likely to speed in the summer than in the winter. 

Although a few years' old, the report also showed that drivers aren't only more likely to brake hard in the summer, but more likely to be involved in a road traffic collision too.

The trend of more dangerous driving over the summer was quite surprising to me. I'd have assumed that the winter would be the more dangerous season for driving, considering the impact that ice and snow can have on road conditions. 

However, the article also described that good weather equates to more traffic on the roads. People travel 20% further in the summer as opposed to the winter months, which helps to explain why summer can be a more dangerous season for road-users. 

In addition, this can lead to increased tiredness and fatigue, which impacts on concentration. With the correlation between tiredness and collisions clear, this is perhaps a contributing factor to summer being more dangerous for drivers and other road-users.

Other summer driving dangers and how to guard against them

This report made me think about some of the other dangers of driving in summer months, and how, as drivers, we can protect ourselves against these to avoid collisions:

  • Burst tyres – this is a risk in the warmest months, as air expands in the heat. As a precaution, you should regularly check that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.

  • Sun glare – we have all experienced how frustrating direct sunlight can be whilst driving. According to the Department of Transport, there were 1,774 collisions in 2021 where dazzling sunlight was named as a contributing factor. To help to combat this, use your sun visor or wear polarised sunglasses whilst driving. 

  • Dehydration – whilst the weather is hot, it's easy to become dehydrated, which can lead to headaches, dizziness or light-headedness and tiredness, all of which can impact on driving behaviours. I find it best to keep a bottle of water in my car, which can prevent dehydration if my journey ends up being longer than expected. 

  • Seasonal allergies – as a sufferer myself, I speak from experience when I say this is a dual risk because not only can the symptoms of hay fever be very frustrating and distracting, but many of the antihistamine medications can make you drowsy. Check the label of any medications you're planning to take, to ensure it doesn't warn against operating equipment whilst you're taking them.

  • Distractions – in the summer, many drivers are likely to take more unfamiliar routes and journeys. If you wish to use your phone for directions, consider investing in a mobile phone holder so that you can use this to display maps hands-free, and without the need to touch or interact with it.

If you're yet to get away for your summer break this year, or for those who unfortunately happen to be stuck in traffic around their hometown, please bear these points in mind. The need for caution remains, regardless of the season, to ensure safe roads.

The impact of road collisions

As a solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s Serious Injury team, I work with clients every day who've either been seriously injured in an accident on the roads, or who have very sadly lost family members due to road traffic collisions. 

Their stories, and how they're often left needing answers or access to specialist support and rehabilitation, vividly highlight the need for road safety.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and families following road collisions at our dedicated road accident claims section.