Sharing The Road This Summer
Sunny summer days are the perfect time to get out of the house, but as you are driving to your destination, it is important to be especially aware of your surroundings. The warm weather means you will be sharing the road with many more people, including pedestrians, cyclists, construction crews and children playing outside. Use these tips to help keep yourself and the people around you safe as you are driving this summer:
Be extra careful when backing out of driveways
It is critical to always pay attention to people around you, especially children, as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space. Every year, over 2,000 children are backed over by vehicles — and approximately 100 of these children die from their injuries.
Before getting into your vehicle, look around to see if there are pedestrians nearby, especially people walking toward you. If you see kids, watch for them as you are getting ready to back up so you can make sure they do not run behind your vehicle. If you have a rearview camera, use it while also looking to the sides to help you see people who might be moving into the space behind your vehicle. Back up slowly, and stop immediately if you see anything behind you, whether it's a person, a ball or just a flash of motion.
Keep your eyes on the road
Looking away from the road for just a few seconds can be more than enough time to get in a crash. Commit to not looking at distractions while you are driving this summer by following a few basic rules:
- Put your phone away before starting the car. Texting, checking social media and making phone calls can wait until you reach your destination.
- Put on your seatbelt, adjust your mirrors, and turn on music before you put your car into gear. Each of these tasks can distract you from your surroundings if you attempt them while driving.
- Don't let your eyes linger too long on distractions while you are driving. Whether it's an attractive person, funny billboard, or interesting store, limit yourself to just a glance while your car is moving.
Give cyclists space
With warm weather, you’ll find more bicyclists and motorcyclists. These smaller vehicles share the road with you, and it's your responsibility to watch out for them and give them the space they need:
- Allow more following distance than usual when you are behind a two-wheeled vehicle. They can stop faster than you can, and collisions are very dangerous for them.
- Look carefully to your right before moving into a turn lane or turning right. Use your side mirror, and glance over your shoulder to check your blind spot.
- Check for cyclists before opening your door after parking. Your door will typically open into a bike lane, and a cyclist can be seriously injured by riding into a door.
Scan the road in construction zones
Construction crews work on the roads more during the summer than in other seasons, so watch for signs telling you about roadwork. Observe the posted speed limit and constantly scan the road, looking in different places for people, equipment or debris that might be in your path.
In addition to these tips, it's important to pay attention whenever you are driving this summer. You might need to turn down the music and limit conversations with friends in the car so you can focus on the road and keep yourself and others safe (and always follow the laws of the Graduated Driver Licensing).
Natalie Saldana is the Southwest Vice President of Sales for Estrella Insurance. Natalie was promoted from Assistant Vice President to Vice President of Sales in December of 2013.