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Is driving in summer more dangerous than driving in winter?

12 Aug

Snow, ice and the darker nights make most people associate difficult driving conditions with winter weather. However, research shows that it’s during the summer months that UK drivers experience the majority of fatal or serious accidents.

Previous figures have shown that there were 6,290 accidents involving death or serious injury on Britain’s roads between July and September 2015, compared with 5,890 between January and March 2016. On the other hand, conflicting studies argue that drivers are 20% more likely to be in a car accident during the winter months.

So, is it possible that driving in the summer is more dangerous than driving in the winter? We’re looking at some of the main risks for drivers during the warmer months and what you can do to stay safe on the roads below.

Driving in summer – What you should look out for

Tire blowouts

Hot weather makes the air inside tyres expand and causes blowouts if your tyres are worn. You should make sure that your tyres are properly inflated as heat can also cause low pressure, leading to reduced fuel economy and contributing to blowout-related accidents.

Low fuel and fluids

Warmer weather can make most engine oils thin out. This prevents the oil from properly lubricating the engine, so make sure you check your oil before setting out on longer journeys. It’s important to check your brake fluid levels, windscreen washer fluid and coolant to avoid your engine overheating.

Battery failure

Hotter days can cause batteries to fail, especially older ones, so it’s worth getting yours checked and replaced if necessary. Parking your car in shaded areas will help stop your fuel evaporating and avoid potential damage to your battery’s longevity.

Holiday drivers

In summer, we see a spike in drivers on the road, from those heading to the airport to those on domestic holidays. It’s more tempting to drive with the windows down and music up, but it’s important to avoid distractions as much as any other time. If you are travelling with children, plan how you are going to keep them occupied for the journey.

Beware of overloading your vehicle as it can cause issues with tyre pressure and fuel economy, as well as block the driver’s vision if items are piled too high. Vehicles towing caravans, boats and trailers should drive slower than normal and avoid sharp breaking, sudden lane changes and rapid deceleration as they put pressure on the engine.

Hay fever dangers

If you suffer with hay fever, take care as it can be a real concern while driving. Sneezing makes you instinctively close your eyes for 50 feet and studies show that sneezing is the cause of 2,500 accidents every week. Taking some non-drowsy medicines and closing your car windows will help.

The conclusion

Both summer and winter weather pose threats to the safety of drivers. It’s worth bearing in mind that although we do get some sunshine in the UK during summer, we are still likely to get rain and so wet conditions are also a possibility in the warmer months. Taking precautions and driving safely is important no matter what time of year it is.

If you have any questions about the above or need guidance, get in touch with our private clients team today on 02920 858620 or email barrie.mccarthy@thomas-carroll.co.uk. Our personal insurance brokers are on hand to provide you with the best advice for protecting you and your vehicle. In the event of a claim, our in-house claims team will be with you every step of the way.