The sun is out, the air is warm, and after a long cold winter and a slow wet spring, you're ready to get on the road again. Before you hit the road, remember that with the change in seasons you need to keep your driving record clean and your insurance record claim free to make sure you don't see an increase in your car insurance rates when it's time to renew. Here are some tips (and warnings) that will make you a safer driver this summer.
Summer Roads Are Busier Than Winter Roads
Everyone's looking to get out on the road and enjoy the summer weather. This means increased traffic on roads everywhere, including tourists and out-of-towners. Taking extra precautions to drive safely will help you to get through the summer season incident free. With increased traffic volume, safe driving practices become particularly important.
Additionally, watch for cyclists and motorcyclists on the roadways. Though they've likely had their bikes parked all winter, fair weather will bring them out on the roads, and these smaller, sometimes faster moving vehicles are just one more thing to look out for. As a motorist, you may not be expecting them, and their skills could be rusty from a winter of not riding - so be alert and avoid an accident.
Unlike other seasons where rush hour tends to be the busiest time on the roads, summer sees an increase in traffic on weekends, as people head to the beach, the cottage, or other popular leisure destinations. In many cases these drivers pose more of a risk, as they're excited about their destination, and often have more cargo and more passengers than a regular commuter. Common sense measures to stay safe on crowded roadways include staying calm and being courteous to other drivers while you're behind the wheel.
Space is Limited
Summer is also construction season, so higher traffic volumes are being squeezed onto roads that are being reduced to allow for maintenance, construction and expansion. With road workers out on our roads, staying alert is particularly important, so pay attention in construction zones, where speed limits are often reduced, and traffic can come to an immediate stand still without much notice.
Pack It In
When you're packing your car for a road trip or vacation keep safety at the top of your mind. Many drivers sacrifice their field of vision, including blocking their mirrors to squeeze in those extra supplies. Don't jeopardize your safety on the roads by over-stuffing your vehicle. This could mean using additional space on the exterior of your vehicle, or towing a small utility trailer. Both are safe options, as long as you remember to properly secure all items - including tarps!
You hear it time and again, but the easiest way to increase your chances of survival in the case of an accident is to wear your seat belt. This isn't just necessary as the driver, but for every passenger in your vehicle too. Seat belts really do save lives, and being caught without one can cost you on your insurance too! You won't qualify for cheap insurance rates if you get caught without your seat belt - especially if it's more than once. Not wearing a seat belt puts you at an increased risk for more severe injuries or even fatality in the event of an accident. Insurance companies know this, and your insurance rates will reflect this. Remember that any passenger under the age of 16 riding in your vehicle who isn't properly secured is your responsibility, and therefore you will be charged on their behalf.