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Lee Martyniak, chartered legal executive at Minster Law, shares ten reasons to be extra careful on the roads this summer

Well summer is here at long last!  Time to enjoy some warm sunshine and light nights.  However, summer also brings with it an increased risk that you may not be aware of.  No, not sunburn or mosquito bites!

Did you know that summer brings with it an increase in road traffic accidents?  You may have thought that winter would be the worst time with poor weather conditions and darkness, but no, summer is the most dangerous time to be on the road.  In fact, there are nearly twice the number of car accidents than at all other times of the year combined.  There are several reasons for this.

  1. Better weather leads to more people being on the roads, keen to get out enjoying themselves.  This results in more traffic and congested roads.  There are also people on UK holidays, driving on unfamiliar roads and taking last minute turns.  People are also on the road more often at this time of year and making longer journeys.  Be sure to leave plenty of time for your journey and expect traffic conditions to be heavy.
  2. With pleasant summer weather comes an increase in alcohol consumption amongst the general population.  People go to the pub or are more inclined to drink at home.  This can all lead to instances of drink driving and with it an increased risk of road accidents.  Put simply, don’t drink and drive.  Arrange to get a taxi or a lift from a friend or family member.
  3. The heat of summer can cause drowsiness and dehydration, as a result, driver reaction times and judgment can suffer.  Make sure you keep cool by wearing appropriate clothing and sipping cold drinks.
  4. Road works.  Summer is when most road construction takes place, causing unexpected changes which can make drivers distracted.  Plan your route before you set off and try to avoid areas where you know there are road works taking place.
  5. Car performance.  During the heat of summer, the performance of your car can suffer and is prone to overheating.  Make sure you check your vehicle regularly, particularly before longer journeys.
  6. Distracted drivers.  During the school holidays it is more common for parents to be driving with children onboard.  Distractions are frequent as any parent will tell you!  This adds to the risk of having an accident.  Concentrate on the road and do not be tempted to look behind to see what is going on in the back!
  7. Sun glare.  More sun in the sky can mean more sun in your eyes!  Be careful and wear those sunglasses!
  8. Young drivers.  During summer there are more young drivers on the road.  Young drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers aged 20 or older.  According to the driving charity, Brake, 1 in 5 drivers have an accident within a year of passing their driving test and more than 1,500 young drivers are killed or seriously injured on the UK roads each year.
  9. Whilst the summer is often warm and sunny, there are often some severe thunderstorms which can cause flooding and traffic accidents.  Check the weather before you set off on your journey, and never drive through flood water.
  10. More motorbikes on the road. As a result of the fine weather there are undoubtedly more motorbikes on the road than in the winter months.  The risk of accidents increases as more attention is needed to spot motorbikes than cars.  Make sure you take enough time and care when checking your mirrors and pulling out of junctions.

So, there you have it! Ten reasons to be extra careful on the roads this summer.  Let’s hope it’s a good and safe one!