Summer driving brings unique driving challenges:
Journey times are longer and traffic jams more likely as more vehicles take to the road, more children playing, outside, more tractors, cyclists and motorbikes.
As well as planning journeys for the eventuality of holiday traffic jams, there needs to be a focus on vehicle condition and detailed information should be provided to drivers on allergies, preventing fatigue and minimising glare from the sun.
The following information should prove useful for all managers to communicate to their drivers.
Following this guidance note can help you prevent accidents by keeping your drivers focused on the road through managing vehicles, fatigue and allergy reactions effectively. Driving in the summer introduces hazards for your drivers in the same way as winter driving.
The Key Points are:
- Consider the possibility of traffic jams caused by holidaymakers when planning
- Check that drivers who need corrected vision have sunglasses that have prescription lenses tinted to an acceptable standard
- Talk to drivers about taking additional breaks and remind professional drivers about fatigue prevention techniques
- Look at vehicle maintenance and inspection regimes from a summer driving viewpoint and check that air conditioning systems are working effectively
- Monitor pollen count forecasts and work with drivers to ensure they are best placed to control the effects of hay fever.
- Check vehicle coolant levels more regularly
- Keep washer bottles full and keep an additional bottle of screen wash in the vehicle. Windscreen smears caused by insects can impair visibility so windscreens need to be kept clean
- Check tyres regularly for damage and tread depth
- Ensure that your air conditioning is maintained and effectively working.
Hay fever causes itchy and watery eyes, blocked and running noses and sneezing, which present a real distraction to drivers:
- Use non-drowsy Antihistamines such as loratadine and cetirizine
- Dehydration can make symptoms worse so keep a bottle of water in the vehicle
- Keep a good supply of tissues in the vehicle
- Wear sun glasses to keep pollen away from your eyes
- Use the air conditioning system where possible to keep the vehicle cab cool.
- Regularly vacuum the vehicle cab to remove pollen
Warm Weather Fatigue
Drivers are more likely to feel fatigued in warmer summer months. Fatigue can be reduced by following these simple steps:
- Break a 3 hour journey with a 20 minute stop
- Take a break every two hours for longer journeys
- Regular short stops of 20 minutes are better than one long
- Avoid eating a heavy meal before driving
- Drink a couple of cups of strong coffee
Glare from the sun can cause road accidents. Wearing the correct sunglasses can help reduce glare and keep the drivers seeing clearly. It is recommended that your drivers have their eyes tested by an optician every 2 years. If a driver requires prescription lenses their sunglasses should also have the same prescription lenses.
Class 4 lenses let through little light and are not suitable for driving use. Class 1,2 and 3 lenses let through adequate light for use in the day but not at night and Class 0 lenses have no limitations but have over 80% light transmission.
Managers should check that drivers have the correct type of lenses in their sunglasses. Design features like deep arms should also be avoided as they obstruct periphery vision.