How to Avoid 5 Costly Summer Driving Hazards

Don’t let the lazy days of summer cause you to become too complacent behind the wheel. Here are five driving hazards that should remain on your radar during the warmer months.

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Wild deer on rural roadPhoto: Shutterstock

Hitting a wild animal

As more cars travel the open road during summer, the risk of hitting a deer, moose or other wild animal increases. Collisions occur more often than you may realize—according to Desjardins, 384 motorists are injured in British Columbia every year from wildlife collisions. To lower the risk of hitting a wild animal, turn on your high beams and be extra cautious from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight. Don't forget to wear your seat belt either, which could save your life if you are unlucky enough to crash into a large animal.

Learn more driving tips that could save your life—and some money, too.

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Car driving in rainstormPhoto: Shutterstock

Hydroplaning in wet weather

Many accidents are the result of simply failing to adjust your driving behaviour to the conditions at hand. The old standbys you learned in driver's ed—decreased speeds and leaving extra stopping distance between yourself and the car in front of you—still apply. Sometimes, however, it's best to simply stop fighting the elements. Other tips that can prepare you for driving in wet weather include:

  • Clean the interior and exterior of your windshield and windows
  • Check to make sure that all of your lights and turn signals are working properly
  • Always use your headlights when visibility is poor

Here's what you need to know before bringing your dog on a road trip.

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Car driving at nighttimePhoto: Shutterstock

Snoozing at the wheel

Don't let the excitement of reaching Cabot Trail or your cabin in the woods tempt you to drive when you're drowsy. According to the Ottawa-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation, approximately 167,000 Ontario drivers may have been involved in at least one crash due to fatigued or drowsy driving in 2006. Drivers should get a minimum of six hours sleep before getting behind the wheel and schedule a break every two hours. Do not drive at times when you typically sleep, or you may increase the odds of falling prey to exhaustion.

Make sure you know these tricks to stay awake during long drives.

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Silhouette of motorcyclistPhoto: Shutterstock

Injuring a bicyclist or motorcyclist

It's easy to keep an eye on other cars while driving, but bicycles and motorcycles typically become afterthoughts. These two-wheeled vehicles are smaller than your car or truck, and they may be harder to spot in your mirror. For their part, bikers should always dress in bright clothing, obey traffic laws and wear a helmet.

Before heading out, take the time to review this road trip item checklist.

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Speeding carPhoto: Shutterstock

Speeding and damaging your car

Speeding puts your insurance rates at risk—and can also severely ding your wallet if you damage your car but don't have collision coverage to help pay the repair bill. Not to mention, speeding is one of the greatest contributors to accidents at any time of year. Many people who slow down to a crawl in winter weather feel like it's permissible to speed during the summer months simply because the road is free of snow and ice. Instead, take your time. A summer trip is something to savour. After all, winter will be back soon enough.

Learn more driving mistakes that drive other drivers nuts!

Originally Published in Reader's Digest