Driving in the summer can be a much more pleasant experience than in the height of winter - you’re less likely to be caught in bad weather or have to deal with thick fog, and can enjoy a ride in the sunshine.
But the summer months present drivers with a host of different challenges.
1. An increase in drink driving
One of the great joys of the summertime is being able to enjoy a pub’s beer garden in all its glory. The trouble is that as the weather gets better, more drivers over-indulge before getting behind the wheel, with drink driving increasing during the summer months. For example, according to price comparison site Confused.com in June, July and August 2015 there were 9,305 drivers caught over the limit, compared to 7,942 between December 2014 and February 2015.
2. More young drivers on the roads
With the schools, colleges and universities breaking up for summer, that means more young drivers who have only recently passed their tests will be out on the roads.
And unfortunately, young drivers are most likely to be involved in serious accidents. According to figures from Brake.org, the driving charity, a quarter of all 18-24 year olds are involved in a crash within the first two years of passing their test. What’s more, while drivers aged 17-19 only make up 1.5% of licence holders in the UK, they are involved in around 9% of fatal and serious crashes.
The combination of inexperience and over-confidence can spell trouble behind the wheel, so it pays to be on your guard to avoid being caught up in an accident with a younger driver.
3. Distracted drivers
The school holidays also mean more drivers journeying with their kids in the car, heading off for days out or breaks away.
As any parent will tell you, driving with youngsters in the car can be a real challenge, whether it’s the regular question of whether you’re nearly there yet or fights breaking out in the backseats over a lack of sharing.
But distractions are a huge cause of car accidents in the UK - around one in three fatal crashes in the UK in 2016 had some form of distraction as a contributing factor, according to figures from the Department for Transport.
4. Reckless driving
There’s something about the sun being out that causes drivers to be a bit more reckless behind the wheel.
Data from telematics firm Wunelli last year found that harsh braking increases by around 30% in the summer months, while speeding on motorways rises 25% and on normal roads there’s a 7% increase.
5. Hay fever
If you’re a hay fever sufferer, you certainly aren’t alone - around one in four people suffer some form of symptoms.
Hay fever can be problematic for drivers though, as sneezing can cause you to essentially travel blind for up to 100 metres.
As a result, you might want to take some appropriate medication before driving with the top down through fields - so long as it doesn’t cause drowsiness of course. Always check medication that states it may cause drowsiness and not to operate machinery as you may endanger yourself and other road users.
6. Greater chance of punctures
According to the RAC, the summer can be a testing time for your tyres. High temperatures, combined with under-inflation, can cause existing damage to get much worse, which makes a puncture all the more likely.
As a result, it’s really important to pay extra close attention to tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres when heading off for a drive in the sun.
7. Prepare for the glare
Plenty of sunshine is of course a wonderful thing, but it can present a challenge for drivers with the glare potentially impacting their vision.
Being prepared is the best course of action here - try to ensure you always have a pair of sunglasses in the car for those occasions when the sun is a bit low.
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8. Longer journey times
Journey times can increase significantly during the summer months, as so many families head off on holiday, coinciding with an influx of tourists looking to enjoy a bit of the British summertime.
It’s not just cars either, with more cyclists and motorcyclists heading out in the better weather.
Analysis by data firm INRIX last year suggested that the first day of the summer holidays would see journey times increase by as much as four times on some routes. As a result, it’s a really good idea to plan your routes in advance, have at least one back-up route to turn to if the traffic really is bad and remember to take regular rest breaks so you don’t drive while tired.
And avoiding travelling at the most popular times is a smart move too.