For professional drivers, summer is not always business as usual; you need to be extra careful and pay even more attention to safe driving practices. Stay safe to have a carefree summer.
You’ve made it through the winter, with its snow, ice, and rain. Are you ready for summer? It has its own considerations. In fact, July and August are among the deadliest months of the year. They have the same number of crashes as December (20,000) and nearly as many as January (27,000) and February (21,000), according to ICBC. Speed and distracted driving are the biggest causes of fatal crashes.
There are more drivers on the road in summer, distracted by summer plans and in a hurry to get to their destinations. The last long weekend of the summer is particularly dangerous on the roads. On average during the Labour Day weekend, five people die and 580 people are injured in 2,100 crashes across BC.
Extreme summer heat takes a toll on vehicles. Pay attention to tires, brakes, the air conditioner, and windshield washer. Check tire tread, wear, and pressure, and coolant and washer fluid levels more regularly. Pay closer attention to your brakes and have them inspected before the summer. Be sure your air conditioning is working properly to help you keep your cool in the heat.
The spring and summer months are construction season, with increased traffic jams, delays, and detours. Creating space for workers in cone zones should be automatic. Remember to slow down and move over for vehicles with flashing red, blue, or yellow lights. Before you head out on a trip, determine your best route to avoid construction areas by monitoring local media and checking the DriveBC website for travel information. If you must travel through a construction zone, be patient. You’ll still get there.
Summer roads are filled with drivers who are more distracted than usual. Watch out for drivers who aren’t watching out for you; look for vehicles slowing unnecessarily or wandering in their lane. Stay away from them as much as possible. Don’t be a distracted driver yourself; keep your focus on your driving.
Summer weather can be as dicey as winter, with thunderstorms, sudden downpours, flash flooding, or strong winds. Always check the weather forecast before and during trips. Sometimes storms come with little warning, so check the forecast periodically. If weather is so severe that your visibility and control of your vehicle are compromised, find a safe place to park and wait it out.
Motorcyclists are also a big part of summer traffic. Motorcycles are small, maneuverable, and hard to see. It can be challenging to estimate the speed of a motorcycle, so once you see one, check your mirrors more often to keep track of it. And keep in mind they can easily disappear into your blind spot.
Summer is the natural time of year to relax, but don’t let your guard down when it comes to staying healthy. Hot weather increases the risk of becoming dehydrated. Ensure you have plenty of cold water with you in the vehicle. Drink up before you get really thirsty. It’s also important to focus on healthy eating during your run and to get plenty of sleep. Self-care includes taking breaks for rest and light exercise, which can help you stay alert. The sun’s glare can hurt your eyes, so invest in sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays with grey lenses for proper colour perception. And don’t forget the sunscreen.
Take time to enjoy the summer. At work or at play, stay safe!