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. 

2. More young drivers on the roads

With the schools, colleges and universities breaking up for summer, that means more young drivers will be out on the roads.

And unfortunately, young drivers are most likely to be involved in serious accidents. According to figures from Brake, the driving charity, one in five drivers crash within a year of passing their test and more than 1,500 young drivers are killed or seriously injured on UK roads every year[1].

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, kids aren’t the only source of distractions for drivers. Others include mobile phones, with dangerous results - drivers using mobiles at the wheel are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash, according to the World Health Organization[2].

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 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.

8. Longer journey times

Journey times can increase significantly during the summer months, as so many families head off on holiday.

It’s not just cars either, with more cyclists and motorcyclists heading out in the better weather.

This summer, the roads are expected to be particularly packed, with 16m staycations planned during school holidays alone[3].

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.

To read more about road safety go to Solved.


[1] https://www.brake.org.uk/get-involved/take-action/mybrake/knowledge-centre/young-drivers

[2] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries

[3] https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/rac-forecasts-unprecedented-summer-on-the-uks-roads-with-16m-staycations/