Summer driving brings unique challenges to driving, more vehicles locally, children playing outside, more caravans, cyclists and motorcyclists. This all equates to journey times increasing and traffic jams becoming more likely.
Those who manage drivers must be aware of the issues and schedules should be planned accordingly. Planning journeys for the undoubted holiday traffic jams. There needs to be an increased focus on vehicle conditions and symmetric information provided to drivers on allergies preventing fatigue and minimising RSI- Repetitive strain injury.
Check coolant levels regularly throughout the summer.
Keep washer fluid full and additional bottles within the car or boot, to prevent minimised vision.
Check tyres for damage due to hot weather increasing the risk of a puncture.
Make sure there is a suitable tread depth of 1.6mm minimum for your car to avoid slippery road surfaces.
Ensure air conditioning is maintained to avoid fainting and a lack of concentration during driving.
Avoid the glare
Glare from the sun can cause road accidents due to the distraction and the reduced vision during trips wearing correct sunglasses can reduce the glare and keep drivers concentration up and their vision. If a driver requires prescription lenses their sunglasses should have the same prescription.
Some lenses will not be suitable for drivers as they don’t in adequate light or they will let in too much due to the limitations as a light transmission. They should not obstruct your periphery vision.
Warm Weather Fatigue
Drivers are more likely to feel fatigued in warmer weather. Tachograph controls will indicate when a commercial vehicle driver should take breaks but drivers without this must follow the upcoming recommendations.
Break a 3-hour journey with a 20-minute stop
Take regular breaks to refresh yourself preferably ever two hours for longer journeys
Avoid eating heavy before driving
Make sure you are wide awake and possibly drink coffee to keep your reactions to a normal speed
Hay fever causes itchy and watery eyes decreasing vision and concentration, this can be a big distraction to drivers and even a millisecond of not looking at the road can cause fatal accidents. It is advisable to ask drivers who suffer from hay fever to follow steps to reduce the likelihood of an outburst.
Use non drowsy Antihistamines such as cetirizine
Dehydration can decrease awareness and even lead to fainting so always keep an extra bottle of water in your car.
Wear sunglasses when the sun impair your vision while also keeping the pollen away from your eyes
Keep windows closed and use air conditioning to keep the vehicle cool
Provide vehicle purifiers to reduce pollen particles
The Country code
If your routes include rural areas it is better to know about the country code
Tractors can turn erratically and do not need indicators for daytime driving
Tractors have front loaders so the length of the vehicle could be more than you anticipate
Mud tracks left on the ground by tractors can be extremely slippery after rain, take caution.
Summary of key points
Driving in the summer can increase hazards that you may not notice, this can create unique challenges. It is recommended that managers raise awareness for these issues to avoid accidents.
Consider to plan your journeys to avoid the holiday jam and avoid the long queues.
Check that your sunglasses are suitable and with the correct prescription if need be.
Suggest to drivers without tachographs to take regular breaks and remind them about fatigue and the prevention of this.
Maintain your vehicle keeping it in the best shape to avoid controversy and potential danger to you and other drivers.
Monitor pollen count forecasts and work with drivers to ensure they can handle their hay fever.