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Summer Driving Dangers

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On the surface, driving through a summer heat wave seems quite serene compared to a winter whiteout. But according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), summer is the most dangerous.

Here are a handful of reasons why summer often trumps winter in the danger department.

More teens on the road

When school's out, more teen drivers hit the roads. The unavoidable lack of experience (we've all been there) can lead to questionable judgment that can increase the risk of an accident. A

Drivers on vacation add to road congestion

We all have our favorite summer destinations, and suffering through traffic jams is the price we gladly pay for getting there. Congested roads make for harder driving conditions and the potential for road rage.

Vacationing drivers are often unfamiliar with the roads, as well, which can lead to erratic or unpredictable driving (especially when there's something cool to look at). And because they're unfamiliar, they may drive too slowly.

Tire blowouts

Summer can do a number on your tires. As AAA explains, hot weather causes the air inside your tires to expand, which can lead to a blowout in well-worn wheels. Check your tires on a regular basis during the summer months, especially during heat waves.


Summertime is a popular time for road construction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that construction and maintenance work zones averaged 669 driving fatalities per year from 2007 through 2012. 

More bicycles and motorcycles on the road

Many cyclists and bikers take advantage of the warm weather by finally getting their vehicles out of the garage and onto the streets, which makes sharing the road a priority for drivers.

Driving alongside cyclists can make traffic maneuvers, from turning right to parallel parking, more dangerous. The IIHS reports that 741 cyclists were involved in fatal accidents with motor vehicles in 2013 alone.

Sun and excess heat

The scorching summer sun can dehydrate you on long drives, so keep a bottle of water handy.

And of course, the chance of your engine overheating increases, especially if you have to rely on your air conditioner to keep yourself from overheating. If your engine overheats, pull over to let it cool down.

Here are so quick tips to help you get there safe;

  • Perform routine maintenance on your vehicle, including a tune-up, oil change, tire rotation and battery check.
  • Top off all vehicle fluids.
  • Check air pressure in the tires.
  • Make sure the air conditioner is functioning properly.
  • Verify that all lights on your vehicle are working.
  • Pack a roadside emergency and first aid kit.
  • To reduce the risk of being involved in a serious accident, you should:
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Not talk on your cell phone or text while driving.
  • Avoid in-vehicle activities such as eating, grooming and drinking. Pull over instead.
  • Ensure you have had sufficient sleep and make frequent rest stops.
  • Never drink and drive – even if you are “under the limit.