Contrary to the common belief, most serious driving accidents occur in summer, not in winter. Indeed, according to motoring experts, you should fear the sunshine and the summer drivers more than the snow and the rain. The majority of fatal and serious accidents in the UK happen during the summer months on Britain roads, with 6290 accidents between July and September 2016 compared to 5890 accidents between January and March. However, the heatwave or the sunshine is not the main guilty parties – even though they do carry a part of the responsibility for some crashes.
In fact, if you should use only one word to sum up the real risk during the summer months, it should be HOLIDAYS. Indeed, during the holiday season, the roads see more people heading to airport and holiday destinations. Many holidaymakers are distracted on the road, which can lead to dramatic consequences. Additionally, these holiday drivers are not only stressed, but they are also more likely to drive on unfamiliar roads. And finally, as we tend to make longer car journey to get to the summer holiday destination, the combination of dangers on the British roads increases significantly.
Naturally, it’s your responsibility to ensure your car doesn’t represent a potential risk on the British roads by looking after your vehicle in summer, especially if you intend to drive a long distance to reach your holiday destination. It’s therefore essential to check your tyre threads to ensure they are still road legal. You will also need to adjust the tyre pressure to the number of people and amount of luggage in the vehicle. If you’re driving with children, do remember to bring sufficient games and snacks to keep them entertained during the journey, as nagging or screaming children are a dangerous distraction for drivers. Finally, if you’re using your mobile as a GPS, do remember to use a hand-free set so that you don’t need to handle the phone during the journey.
Nevertheless, while these precautions will make you a safe driver, you also need to be paying attention to other drivers on the road. Here are the most dangerous drivers on British roads this summer.
The foreign tourist who doesn’t know the road
Driving in the UK can be extremely confusing for foreign drivers who are thrown without any ceremony nor warning onto the M20 at the exit of the Eurotunnel. While there is no other choice than going with the flow of vehicles, it’s fair to say that when accidents occur, they don’t happen in this portion of their journey. They tend to happen after the driver has had a break at a service along the motorway. Going back onto the road, and in the right direction of traffic can become very difficult, especially when there are no cars around to follow. EU drivers, for instance, are more likely to switch back to driving on the right side of the road during their first hours and days in the country if they find themselves alone on the road. Indeed, risk management Cardinus warns that for an overseas driver, the roads in the UK can be a strange experience. Consequently, there are more likely to exhibit unexpected behaviours for other drivers on the road. Roundabouts in town can be confusing, for instance, especially for European drivers who don’t know the complex and varied layout of British roundabouts, from magic roundabouts to roundabouts with six exits or more. Consequently, if you happen to see a foreign-registered car on the road, it’s fair to say that giving the driver some time and space to adjust will make your journey easier too.
The young driver who wants to impress his friends
Summer, short nights, long days, and freedom. This can turn into a deadly combination if you leave the steering wheel into the hands of a rather inexperienced driver. Not that all young drivers are dangerous on the road. But young drivers who are keen to have fun before heading to university can show reckless behaviour on the road. Unfortunately, without eh experience of a mature driver, they are more likely to cause an accident as a result of dangerous driving. In fact, young drivers are a third more likely to die in a car crash than drivers aged 40-49. Additionally almost 25% of young drivers crash within two years of passing their driving test. Statistics also reveal that young male drivers are involved in more accidents than female drivers. Unfortunately, the mixture of over-confidence, inadequate assessment of hazard and the prevalent risk-taking attitude can be directly linked to most car crashes. Consequently, you are more likely to be injured in a car accident caused by a young driver over the summer months. There are, of course, legal ways in which you can claim compensations for your personal injury. Accident lawyers in Oklahoma City are particularly skilled in handling such cases. However, it’s fair to say that you would want to take precautions to avoid the risks of an accident. Unfortunately, while some drivers still use an L sign and others a P sign, young drivers are difficult to identify. However, you’ll find that small city cars, such as the VW up!, SEAT Mii, Ford Ka+, VW Polo, or even Kia Picanto are more likely to be owned by young drivers as a result of their affordable purchase price and insurance costs.
The intoxicated driver
Sumer is for late nights, spent enjoying the local beer garden in with a few friends. While the appeal of an evening in the fresh air is enjoyable, the heatwave encourages people to drink more. Unfortunately, too many drivers choose to quench their thirst with an alcoholic drink instead of a soda or a glass of water. The warm temperatures can make it more difficult to notice you’ve had a drink too many, resulting in dangerous DUI driving such as this shunt into a gas station in Mississippi. Thankfully, in this case, nobody was injured. But drivers are not always as lucky, and they drunken nights can result in serious and fatal crashes. There may be no external signs of intoxicated driving, but you can recognise by the car the car handles that the driver might be overcorrecting for obstacles on the road. The vehicle is unsteady on the road and doesn’t stick to the speed limit and the signalisation. You’ll find that such driving behaviours are more frequent in the evening and at night than during daytime. You’ll find that it is often safer to park the car safely on the side of the road and wait for the risky driver to pass.
The driver with the sun in their eyes
I couldn’t see; I had the sun in my eyes!
While this might be an acceptable excuse if you’re playing tennis, it’s not the kind of things you’d like to hear after a car accident. Unfortunately, sun glare causes around 3,000 crashes per year, and over 1% of these are fatal. For drivers, there are precautions you can take to avoid being blinded by the sun behind the wheel. Firstly, a clean windscreen can make a great deal of difference when the sun is shining right through it. If you have debris, the sun’s reflection with scatter through and blind you even more. Make sure your windscreen washer fluid levels and your wiper blades are in excellent condition so that you’re not left in a situation where you can’t clear the windscreen. With reduced visibility, it’s important to drive with caution and lower your speed — but resist the urge to brake when blinded from the sun. Sunglasses with polarised lenses are not only a fashion accessory, but they can genuinely save your drive when driving during sunny days — in summer and winter.
Similarly, while you can’t know how other drivers will react, you can keep an eye on the position of the sun. If at all possible, avoid taking the car when the sun is low in the sky, early or late during the day.
The vintage car driver
Vintage cars appear on the road when the weather gets warm again. They offer the chance to relive a past motoring age, and are generally cared for and looked after by their owners. Even though most vintage cars are used only a few months during the year, you can be sure that most will be in pristine condition. The favourite classics in the UK are the Jaguar E-Type, MG B, Ford Capri, Lamborghini Countach, Frazer Nash, and the classic Mini. If you wanted to buy one of those today, you’d be looking at £50,000 minimum for an E-type 14.2 Roadster, for instance. As a result, vintage car drivers are very cautious on the road. However, they can’t control the reaction of other drivers who might become distracted by the vehicle.
The road trip driver who needs a break
Finally, summer means long journeys in the car. Too many drivers avoid breaks to arrive quickly to their destination. This can lead to driver tiredness and lack of concentration behind the wheel. Beware of cars that seem to react a little too slowly on the motorway and keep your distance from these if at all possible.
In conclusion, if you want to stay safe on the road this summer, you need to be attentive to these drivers and the dangers they represent.