This summer is likely to be markedly different from any most of us have known before. Coming out with such a dramatic statement isn’t drawn from any psychic-like knowledge of what the weather will be like! Rather, it is made on the basis that we will (hope upon hope) be emerging from the nightmare that has been the worldwide Covid19 pandemic.
As long as the individually planned roadmaps out of the Covid lockdown of Wales, England and Scotland pan out as hoped, then by the time that summer officially starts here in the UK, on the 21st June, we should be getting back to something like life as we know it.
There’s no doubt that we’ll all celebrate just being able to do everyday stuff again. Things like going into pubs and restaurants once more, getting our hair cut, socialising with family and friends, and jumping into the car to get out onto the sun-drenched summer roads and taking a long drive to somewhere – anywhere!
When it comes to enjoying some summer driving, keeping it safe is paramount to both our and other road users’ safety.
With this in mind, here are our top tips for staying safe and avoiding an accident whilst out driving during what is likely to be an unforgettable summer:
- Keep your car well maintained – Driving in the summer is an entirely different proposition from driving in the winter. Make sure your tyres are in good shape and kept at the correct air pressure. Hot weather can be unkind to tyres, so make sure you keep them well looked after. Before this summer arrives, take even more time out than you usually would, and ensure your vehicle is in good fettle. Many of our cars were sitting on driveways or stuck in garages for more than just the winter months. Top up the oil, coolant and windscreen washer levels.
- Stay cool in your car– after a long winter, we can forget how uncomfortably hot it gets in a car at the height of summer. Being over-dressed whilst driving in hot weather can be uncomfortable or lead to drowsiness. Wear light clothes, but it’s best to leave off sandals or flip flops. It might not be illegal footwear, but if a flip flop slips off the pedal and you lose control of the car, you may end up having a road traffic accident and receiving a careless driving charge or worse.
- Keep your concentration – With little opportunity to socialise for over a year, we’ll want to make up for the lost time. When you’re driving, though, make sure you concentrate on your driving first and foremost, rather than constantly turning to talk to your passengers. The same goes for being distracted by hot and bothered kids. Bring plenty for them to drink along with things to keep them entertained.
- Don’t drink and drive – you know it’s wrong, and we know it’s wrong. Those that will do it will anyway and probably won’t be reading this in any event. We know how well a nice chilled glass of wine or an ice-cold beer goes down on a hot summers day – especially when we have been denied the pleasure of pub drinking for so long. Don’t be tempted. Take turns in who drives to the pub or jump in a taxi!
- Cut your speed. Quite a bit has been written about motorists driving much faster than usual during the lockdown. Simultaneously, the popularity of cycling, walking, horse riding and running has increased massively.
By the time summer comes, we can expect an explosion in the number of cars back on the road. There is a feeling too that not only can we expect traffic levels to return to pre-pandemic levels, but they may even exceed them.
The RAC reported in November 2020 that the pandemic had caused confidence in public transport to hit an 18 year low. Not being able to correctly social distance and passengers who don’t wear masks are two main reasons why people are likely to choose their cars instead of bus, tube or train when they have to travel. Fears of catching covid are unlikely to disappear, even after the whole population gets vaccinated.
The summer roads, both rural and urban, may well be teeming this year. A combination of heavy traffic, lots of other (non-motor) road users, hot weather and motorists eager to put their foot down combine to make a potential recipe for disaster.
Car drivers and other four-wheeled motorists are the dominant force amongst this motley crew of bedfellows. Remembering to ease off the accelerator could be the kindest gesture we all make this summer. No one wants to survive the pandemic only to become a road traffic accident victim on the one hand or be facing a car accident compensation claim against them, on the other.
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