Summer temperatures have arrived in Greater Vancouver and the entire province. Households are making plans for weekends, long weekends, and summer vacation. With sustainable tourism maintaining as one of the top travel trends across the country, many residents are opting for the road over the airport. They are navigating the I-5, the Coquihalla, the Trans-Canada Highway, and a slew of other winding branches of BC. And while a road trip can make memories that last a lifetime, you don’t want them to stick for the wrong reason.
You see, people often consider summer as being the optimal time to drive, with winter wearing the crown as the worst season. However, many don’t realize that the longest days of the year bring their own unique set of concerns. Yes indeed, you need to exercise great care when driving in the summer. Today, Park Insurance is here to make sure that you don’t hit the highway without being aware of these distinct seasonal driver disturbances.
3 Summertime Highway Driving Concerns You May Not Have Anticipated
1. Cyclists Are Joining You on the Highway Too
There are 37 sanctioned triathlons in BC alone between June and September. With over three-dozen in effect, every highway will be dotted with triathletes in training for the cycling portion of their events. Then there are the casual long distance cycling enthusiasts who may be less versed in the ways of the road. There is no getting around it, you’re sharing the road with two-wheeled contraptions this season and while participants may be considered an IRONMAN they are not indestructible. ICBC reports that an average of 740 cyclists are injured and seven perish in car collisions in the summer, each year. You need to be more mindful than ever before.
Monitor the road ahead and check the sidelines for cyclists so that you’re well aware of them as you approach. Yield the right-of-way to cyclists as you near rest areas, exits, and within town, using your signal lights well in advance. All in all, keep a safe distance from cyclists on the highways and you will all be safer for it.
2. Inappropriate Tires for the Season
Is your automobile still wearing winter tires? Don’t make this highway function faux pas. People think that winter tires can serve them in all seasons, but this is not the case.
The tread rubber found on winter tires is substantially more flexible than that of all-season and summer tires. The same malleable material that adds traction in winter wears down quickly in warm temperatures. During especially hot days on the asphalt this wear and tear increases exponentially. Your performance on the road decreases and the potential for an accident increases significantly. Before you take that road trip, swap out your winter tires for all-season tires that are manufactured to withstand warm temperatures. If you’re driving through areas known for hotter extremes, install summer tires for extra caution.
3. The Impending Threat of Heat Stroke
Sun and heat stroke are very real threats for anyone driving over long distances in the summer. Be aware of the symptoms so that you can pull over and allow for recovery. These symptoms include the following:
- High body temperature over 40°C
- Strange behavior and/or altered mental state
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Hot skin
While some of the above can also be common summertime manifestations, if you experience these symptoms while driving, it is better to err on the side of caution. Find a rest area, crank up the A/C, seek shade, and hydrate. B.C. highways are blessed with numerous creeks and lakes at rest areas so feel free splash yourself (or take a dip) to regain your strength and stave off the return of heat/sun stroke. If symptoms don’t subside, switch drivers (where viable) and get checked out at the first medical facility you find along the way. If you don’t have another driver and symptoms persist, don’t risk it, call 911.
Conclusion – In addition to being mindful of the above, remember to follow all best-practices for driving over long distances. Reference our article on the five tips to staying awake on the road and this piece on unanticipated driver distractions.
Park Insurance wishes you a fun and safe summer season on the highways of beautiful British Columbia, and beyond!